Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Canada Food Guide's Director General Agrees It's Broken

In February 2014 I had the pleasure of debating the Director General of Health Canada's Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion (the folks in charge of the Food Guide), Hasan Hutchinson, about whether or not Canada's Food Guide could promote weight gain.

You can watch the whole debate if you want, but I want to focus on a statement that Dr. Hutchinson made during the discussion. It was just a single line and it had to do with chocolate milk.

I had mentioned that chocolate milk, given it's high in both calories and free sugar, should lose its billing as a Canada's Food Guide sanctioned dairy serving. Delisting chocolate milk matters as the trickle down effect of that might ultimately lead to its removal from school milk programs, which in turn might have the trickle down effect of fewer kids and adults believing that milk's such an important beverage to consume that it's ok to add piles of free sugar to it to encourage its consumption (a practice akin to encouraging more fruit consumption by serving more pie).

Dr. Hutchinson agreed.

He stated,
"One thing we're doing right now (Note: Right now means February 2014) is doing a reassessment of all of those things and certainly me personally, I agree with Yoni that it (chocolate milk) should not be there either"
Well that screen capture up above was snapped just this past weekend so certainly no changes yet.

Dr. Hutchinson also seems to be on the same page as me in regard to fruit juice not being a fruit equivalent. Back in May of this year he was quoted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal on juice's fruit billing as stating,
"You won’t be seeing that anymore … and there’ll be a fair number of new materials coming out in the next few months."
Well, that juice quote was from 5 months ago now, and chocolate milk - that was 21 months ago.

Wonder if we'll ever see those changes?

Brings to mind the article I wrote for the Globe and Mail this past April, Canada's Food Guide is broken - and no one wants to fix it.

It sure sounds like Dr. Hutchinson wants to fix at least some of it. I wonder what or who is getting in his way?