Revision process for Canada's food guide

The new food guide was released in January 2019. Learn about our revision process.

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About Canada's food guide

Canada's food guide helps you choose foods that:

  • improve health
  • meet nutrient needs
  • reduce risk of nutrition-related, chronic (long-term) diseases and conditions

Canada's food guide uses the science of nutrition and health to help you make healthy food choices.

Revision of Canada's food guide

The revision is part of our Healthy Eating Strategy.

Our goal has been to:

  • strengthen healthy eating recommendations
  • communicate guidance in ways that better meet the needs of different users, such as:
    • the public
    • policy makers
    • health professionals

We have built on the best available scientific evidence and on the feedback we've received about past versions of Canada's food guide. This means we have moved away from the all-in-one format that acted as both a policy and educational tool.

The new format makes Canada's food guide easier for people to understand and use every day.

The evidence review

From 2013 to 2015, we reviewed:

  • evidence from:
    • a scientific basis (links between food, nutrients and health)
    • the Canadian context (what Canadians eat, their health status and the environment in which they live)
  • the use of existing dietary guidance

These findings and Health Canada's evidence review process are described in the Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance 2015.

From 2015 to 2018, we continued to review and assess emerging evidence on the links between food, nutrients and health. Our findings are summarized in Food, Nutrients and Health: Interim Evidence Update 2018.

Health Canada continually monitors the evidence from credible scientific sources to support dietary guidance in Canada. To use the best and most recent evidence in our decision-making, we consider:

  • high-quality, peer-reviewed systematic reviews
  • reports from leading scientific organizations and government agencies

We will continue to update Canada's dietary guidelines, as needed, to ensure they are consistent with the latest convincing evidence.

Engagement and consultation

Throughout the revision process, we engaged with stakeholders and Canadians to ensure the new food guide is:

  • useful
  • easy to apply
  • easy to understand

In fall 2016, we held open consultations with stakeholders and Canadians about their needs and expectations for a revised Canada's food guide. The Canada's Food Guide Consultation - Phase 1 What We Heard Report summarizes the almost 20,000 responses we received.

In spring 2017, we hosted an online stakeholder discussion forum. Participants shared their opinions and engaged in conversation on a series of topics. We also conducted focus groups with stakeholders and Canadians to learn how they use healthy eating information. A report summarizing this research is available.

In summer 2017, we held a second open consultation. We asked stakeholders and interested people to provide feedback on our proposed general healthy eating recommendations. The Canada's Food Guide Consultation - Phase 2 What We Heard Report summarizes the responses from about 6,700 contributors.

During spring and summer 2018, we did extensive focus testing with Canadians and health professionals to help inform the development of the food guide's messages. Again, a report summarizing this research is available.

The final recommendations reflect input from stakeholders, experts and the public.

During the policy development of the new food guide, officials from Health Canada's Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion did not meet with food and beverage industry representatives. It was important to ensure that the development of dietary guidance was free from conflict of interest. However, the online public consultations were open to all stakeholders, including industry.

Read more about our policies on the transparency of stakeholder communications for healthy eating initiatives.

The new Canada's food guide

We released the new Canada's food guide in early 2019. The guide is a mobile-friendly web application that provides Canadians with easier access to information about healthy eating.

We will continue to:

  • enhance the content of the web application
  • add more information to help Canadians use the new food guide where they live, learn, work and play
  • add more information to support the use of the food guide in specific life stages, such as pregnancy

First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples

The new Canada's food guide is relevant to all Canadians, and is inclusive of Indigenous peoples.

Health Canada and Indigenous Services Canada are committed to working with Indigenous peoples to support the development of healthy eating tools for:

  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis

Until these new tools are available, Canada's Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Métis is still a trusted source of information on healthy eating.

Highlights on what's new

Less prescriptive approach

We heard that many Canadians found the previous food guide challenging to use in their daily lives. For this reason, the new food guide has moved away from recommendations based on the number and size of servings.

The food guide's new approach:

  • is designed to be flexible
  • includes tips for healthy eating habits
  • recommends a variety of healthy food choices

Food guide snapshot

The food guide snapshot provides a summary of Canada's Dietary Guidelines and healthy eating recommendations.

The snapshot:

The size and amount of each food on the snapshot is not meant to show how much to eat at one time.

We chose the foods shown in the snapshot based on a number of considerations such as:

  • cost
  • variety
  • cultural relevance
  • availability as:
    • fresh
    • frozen
    • canned
    • dried

The healthy food choices shown on the plate are only examples. You can find other examples of healthy foods in the new food guide's:

Be informed

Keep up to date on the new Canada's food guide by registering for the Consultation and Stakeholder Information Management System. At the 'areas of interest' page, select 'Canada's Food Guide / Nutrition.'

For questions about the new Canada's food guide, email us at nutrition@canada.ca.

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