Ottawa, ON – Canada’s new Food Guide, released by Health Canada today, highlights what we’ve known for decades, that a quarter of your plate should be protein. Lean red meat provides Canadians with high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients – it’s a healthy choice in a balanced diet.
“The visual may have changed, but the advice to enjoy lean red meat with lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains remains the same as previous iterations of the Food Guide,” says Chris White, CEO and President of the Canadian Meat Council. “It’s refreshing that the Food Guide is focusing on how to eat, not just what to eat.”
Some people are interpreting the food guide as a directive to eat less meat. However, Canadians have already adjusted their red meat consumption. Canadians understand moderation. According to an Ipsos poll conducted in September 2017 of 1,000-plus Canadians, 72% of respondents reported to eat three or less servings of meat a week. Encouragingly, 3 out of 4 respondents understand the importance of red meat in providing essential nutrients for optimum health but there’s room for more education.
“Meat has benefits when added to diets that are largely plant-based by helping the body absorb nutrients, like iron and zinc,” said Mary Ann Binnie, a nutrition expert with the Canadian Meat Council. “The synergies of eating red meat and veggies together cannot be underestimated.”
All proteins aren’t created equal. Plant and animal proteins vary by the unique nutrient packages they offer and also by their calorie contribution. For example, a 75 gram pork chop provides 25 grams of protein and 130 calories. You need over ¾ cup almonds at five times the amount of calories (687 calories) and 2 ½ cups chickpeas at almost four times the calories (490 calories) to consume the same amount of protein.
“Rather than splitting hairs over protein choices, Canadians need to focus on moderation and reducing the foods they’re eating that are not part of the Food Guide – those energy-dense, nutritionally-lacking products like chips, pop, donuts, muffins, danishes, candy and chocolate bars” add Binnie.
About Canadian Meat Council:
For nearly a century, the CMC has represented Canada’s federally registered meat packers, meat processors and equipment suppliers. CMC provides evidence-based advocacy on behalf of its members and works to secure and improve Canada’s global meat competitiveness and, promote a balanced diet, which includes high-quality and nutritious Canadian meat. The Canadian red meat industry represents over 20 billion dollars to the Canadian economy and supports 288,000 jobs across Canada.