How to enhance the good health and well-being of Canadians:
Effective food and meal-based guidelines and policies that fit the facts and face the future
Keywords:food guidance, food processing, ultra-processed foods, diet and nutrition
Diet-related diseases and disorders in Canada are a national public health emergency, now and as projected. One main reason is that the national food supply has become increasingly dominated by ultra-processed food and drink products, mostly snacks, that displace dietary patterns based on fresh meals. Policies and practices that will enhance the good health and well-being of Canadians of all ages, regions, classes, and social and ethnic groups, and that will benefit society, the economy, and the environment forever, are immediate and imperative priorities. Current programs, including the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide, are moving in the right direction, but are too slow and have notable limitations. Compelling and consistent evidence from studies conducted in Canada and by independent research teams all over the world shows that the main issue with food, nutrition, and health is not nutrients, as has been assumed, but the nature, purpose, and degree of food processing. This is already recognized by UN agencies and an increasing number of national governments. This review examines the evidence on the impact of diets high in ultra-processed food on human and planetary health. It also comments on recent Canadian food guidance. It then introduces the NOVA classification, which takes food processing into account, and analyzes the recent Canadian diet in terms of food processing. Finally, this review proposes healthy eating and policy recommendations that strengthen the 2019 Food Guide, so as to reduce the burden of diet-related disease and enhance the health and well-being of the Canadian people.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Jean-Claude Moubarac, Jane Y. Polsky, Milena Nardocci, Geoffrey Cannon
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