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Food guide 2.0 – Proteins, calcium and portions

Canadian food guide

 

Yesterday, the Government of Canada unveiled its new Food Guide and we are thrilled with the changes. Three important modifications to be addressed: the elimination of the milk and alternatives category, the plant-based protein and the withdrawal of the portion section. In response to these changes, we will discuss three questions that may be of concern.

Will I eat enough calcium?

It has long been said that calcium is essential for strong bones and that dairy products are the best sources. It is therefore normal to be surprised by the disappearance of the milk and alternatives category and to see milk in the “protein foods” category.

Dairy products are not bad for your health. They still represent an important source of calcium but they are not essential. There are a variety of foods that offer calcium such as tofu, legumes, milk substitutes, almond butter, almonds, soy beans, green cabbage, and so on. I invite you to check your calcium needs and sources of calcium here.

Furthermore, many studies have shown that having a higher calcium intake would not necessarily prevent fractures. Several other factors can influence bone mass: physical activity, vitamins D and K, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and green vegetables.

How to consume enough protein?

Many people are reluctant to eat mainly plant-based protein because they are afraid not meeting their protein needs. Did you know that very few vegetarians have protein deficiencies?

Tempeh, tofu, legumes, soy beverages, nuts and seeds are all foods that contain protein. In addition, grain products and vegetables also contain protein. For example, a cup of whole wheat pasta contains about 7.8 g of protein and a cup of vegetables can contain between 1 and 3 g of protein.

In contrast to meat, plant-based protein contains much more fiber, a key element for hunger and satiety signals, weight maintenance, digestion and microbiota. Some plant-based protein foods replace the bad fats found in meat with good fats.

I invite you to read my article here if you want to know how much protein you need in your day and to learn more about plant-based protein sources.

I strongly recommend that you get the Ménager la chèvre et manger le chou by Hélène Baribeau and Marjolaine Mercier if you would like to learn more about a plant-based diet.

 

Without portions, how can I control my weight?

The previous food guide provided a section on how many portions to eat based on age and gender. Respecting portions can help you become aware of normal portions and structure your diet in the very short term, but it is not realistic to calculate portions medium and long term. Here are the golden rules that will allow you to lose or maintain your weight in a sustainable way.

 

Make healthy food choices

  1. Eat a variety of healthy foods: eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods, protein foods. Choose foods with healthy fats.
  2. Limit highly processed foods: prepare foods with healthy ingredients. Choose healthier menu options.
  3. Make water your go-to drink: replace sugary drinks.
  4. Use food labels.
  5. Be aware of food marketing.

Adopt healthy eating habits

  1. Be mindful of your eating habits: take the time to eat. Notice your hunger cues.
  2. Cook more often: plan what you eat. Involve others.
  3. Enjoy your food: include culture and food traditions.
  4. Eat meals with others.

 

References

“Les Carences Nutritionnelles Et L’alimentation Végétale.” Ménager La chèvre Et Manger Le Chou: découvrez Comment L’alimentation végétale Peut Transformer Votre santé, by Baribeau Hé́lène and Marjolaine Mercier, Éditions La Semaine, 2018.

 

Author
Alyssa Fontaine, Dt.P.

Nutrition supervisor at Nautilus Plus, member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec and holder of a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, Alyssa joined the Nautilus Plus team in January 2014. She developed an interest in healthy nutrition at a very young age, inspired by her grandmother’s large vegetable garden and her iron health still going strong at over 90 years of age. Proper nutrition and an active lifestyle are the secrets to a long life. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Alyssa exercises regularly and shares her tips to living a balanced lifestyle acknowledging that she does have a sweet tooth. She is the proud spokesperson for the «Zero Diet» brand and she is being followed more and more on social networks.


Food guide 2.0 – Proteins, calcium and portions is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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