Canada's New Food Guide: Red Meat Belongs on Your Plate

CANADA - Canada’s new Food Guide, released by Health Canada today, highlights what we’ve known for decades - that a quarter of your plate should be protein.
calendar icon 23 January 2019
clock icon 2 minute read

Lean red meat provides Canadians with high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients – it’s a healthy choice in a balanced diet.

"The visual may have changed, but the advice to enjoy lean red meat with lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains remains the same as previous iterations of the Food Guide," said Chris White, CEO and President of the Canadian Meat Council.

"It’s refreshing that the Food Guide is focusing on how to eat, not just what to eat."

Some people are interpreting the food guide as a directive to eat less meat. However, Canadians have already adjusted their red meat consumption. Canadians understand moderation.

According to an Ipsos poll[1] conducted in September 2017 of 1,000-plus Canadians, 72 percent of respondents reported to eat three or less servings of meat a week.

Encouragingly, three out of four respondents understand the importance of red meat in providing essential nutrients for optimum health but there’s room for more education.

"Meat has benefits when added to diets that are largely plant-based by helping the body absorb nutrients, like iron and zinc," said Mary Ann Binnie, a nutrition expert with the Canadian Meat Council.

"The synergies of eating red meat and veggies together cannot be underestimated."

All proteins aren’t created equal. Plant and animal proteins vary by the unique nutrient packages they offer and also by their calorie contribution. For example, a 75 gram pork chop provides 25 grams of protein and 130 calories.

You need over ¾ cup almonds at five times the amount of calories (687 calories) and 2 ½ cups chickpeas at almost four times the calories (490 calories) to consume the same amount of protein.

"Rather than splitting hairs over protein choices, Canadians need to focus on moderation and reducing the foods they’re eating that are not part of the Food Guide – those energy-dense, nutritionally-lacking products like chips, pop, donuts, muffins, danishes, candy and chocolate bars," added Ms Binnie.

[1] Ipsos online poll of 1,003 Canadians conducted 8-11 September 2017 on behalf of the Canadian Meat Council. Sample weighted to reflect Census data. Poll is considered accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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