Food guidelines changing yet again

I will tell you right from the start that I am a Type 2 diabetic who is insulin dependent.
It has forced me to pay greater attention to what I eat for almost 25 years. Sometimes I have been more successful than at other times, and exercise certainly plays a very important role in controlling my blood glucose levels.
Early on, I had discovered that prepared foods wreaked havoc with blood sugar levels and I had to pay close attention to carbohydrates.
Until I was diagnosed, I paid very little attention to Canada’s food guidelines although my wife, who was a home economist, watched closely what we ate as a family.
Traditionally, our family sat down at supper to enjoy a meal with each other and discover what had happened during the day. Sometimes the meal had cooked all day in the oven and other times the meal quickly was prepared by my wife after she arrived home from work.
Nothing was more important than tracking all the foods that I ingested when my blood sugar levels got into double digits and discovering how far I had moved off Canada’s Food Guide. The guidelines constantly are under review and, through many cycles, have been influenced by the dairy, beef, pork, and poultry lobby groups.
The original food guide in 1942 had six categories with portions recommended. The categories were milk, fruits, vegetables, cereals and breads, meat/fish, and eggs.
By 1961, the food guide was reduced to five categories, with eggs being bundled into meat and fish. Then the 1977 guide condensed the number of categories to four with fruits and vegetables being combined.
The 1992 food guide continued to have four food categories that grouped all grain products together. Vegetable and fruit products remained grouped while milk and milk products was a separate group, as was meat and fish.
In the latest proposed food guide, there is a greater emphasis on eating plant-based foods. As such, the guide will be reduced to three different food groups.
Milk products now have been included in the protein group, along with meats, fish, nuts, and whole grains.
The draft guidelines recommend regular intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods especially plant-based sources of proteins. They are recommending more use of beans, nuts and seeds, and soy products, shifting away from animal foods.
The new food guidelines recommend preparing meals at home rather than relying on take-out or fast food, as well as choosing water over sweetened beverages or fruit juices. Even more important, the guidelines recommend enjoying meals around a table with family and friends.
These new food guidelines have been created without the lobbying of special groups. The changes are expected to improve the nutrition of children and cafeteria food offered to students at schools.
Canada’s Food Guide is one of the most popular downloads on the federal government’s website. The changes will be taught in schools and perhaps those children will bring home the message of how to eat healthier.
And maybe, we all will pay more attention to where our food comes from and be ready to find more vegetables produced within the district.

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