Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oh, and you can't have Ketchup!

I sure hope you don't like ketchup.

I also hope you don't like jams, jellies, potato chips, chocolate, soft drinks or alcohol because as far as Health Canada's concerned, you simply can't have them. For they are the Other foods of the 1992 Food Guide, but in our new version, Health Canada would prefer to pretend that they simply don't exist.

Funny thing about them not existing.

I sure think they exist. I'm sure you think they exist. Statistics Canada sure thinks they exist. In fact Statistics Canada thinks that Canadians obtain almost 25% of their total daily calorie intake from these "Other" foods, a result none too surprising since identical results came from a 2001 study in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research.

Ok, so maybe I'm taking a bit of blogger license by stating that Health Canada doesn't think Other foods exist. Actually, I'm being kind, the truth is far more disturbing. Health Canada knows they exist, but they choose to ignore them.

Health Canada, during their questioning in front of the Standing Committee on Health had a few succinct words to say about their approach to "Other" foods,

"The issue is very dead-on. Canadians consume a large percentage of their energy--22% for ages 4 to 18, that we know from CCHS 2.2--from foods that aren't part of your basic food supply. I will repeat what I said earlier. This food guide is talking about tough choices."
They report that their Guide leaves little room for error, meaning that if you were to stray from the Guide even a little, you may well find yourself gaining weight.

Let's pretend for a moment (and I really mean pretend) that Health Canada's caloric modeling, despite it being based off out-dated and artificial 1997 Nutrient File calories is correct. If you take their calories and then add 25%, well that's a heck of a lot more calories!

Hey wait a second, doesn't consuming a heck of a lot more calories lead to weight gain?

So let me ask you, do you think it's a good idea to simply ignore 25% of the food that Canadians are currently consuming? I sure don't, but if we resign ourselves to the fact that there are a lot of "tough" choices to be made here, as Health Canada themselves stated at the House, I suppose that must mean that Health Canada has provided us with some rock solid guidance as to how to find and minimize these "Other" foods since it seems as if their solution for "Other" foods is for Canadians never to have them.

Think again.

It is ridiculous to suggest that Canadians cannot and should not choose condiments. It is ridiculous to assume that Canadians will stop eating dessert. It is unconscionable that the new Food Guide ignores 25% of all of the foods consumed by Canadians, preferring to turn a blind eye than to craft helpful recommendations as the "guidance" you'll read about tomorrow is as ridiculous as ignoring the fact that Canadians consume a great deal of "Other".

Tomorrow: Guidance? What Guidance? - The sage advice of the Food Guide on how to manage your weight

Yesterday: A Match NOT Made in Heaven - The 1997 Nutrient File and Canada's Food Guide working together to increase obesity.

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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:02 pm

    So I am a little confused . . . you criticize Health Canada's food guide for considering chocolate milk as a dairy choice, which would lead me to think your focus is on supporting people to eat whole, lower sugar/calories/fat/salt foods but then this post slams Health Canada for not considering ketchup? It seems to be a mixed message. I would appreciate seeing your version of a healthy eating guide.

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  2. No buts about it, both errors in Health Canada's food guide are errors. Recommending higher calorie, higher sugar drinks over less processed, lower calorie drinks is one type of error. Another type of error is ignoring a large section/class of foods that collectively contributes a large proportion of calories to Canadian's diets.

    If the guide is accurate, then it must not make different types of errors.

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