What is the Food Guide Based on?

Canada's Food Guide is based on nutrition and food science. A key reference is the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). The DRIs summarize research findings about the amount of each nutrient and calories needed for good health and the prevention of chronic disease, while avoiding the negative effects of consuming too much of any individual nutrient. The Food Guide is based on a sedentary level of activity for all age/sex groups. (Sedentary activity includes typical daily living activities such as household tasks and walking to the bus.)

What are the key messages of the Food Guide?

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide describes what amount of food people need and what type of food is part of a healthy eating pattern. The eating pattern recommends a variety of foods from the four food groups – Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives – plus a certain amount of added oils and fats. The recommended number of servings is an average of what people should try to eat each day and differs for males and females and at different stages of life. The Guide also suggests limiting foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar, or salt (sodium) to help achieve good health and a healthy body weight. The number of calories in the eating pattern in Canada's Food Guide depends on the specific foods or beverages that a person chooses, as well as how the food is prepared.

Where are sugars described in the Food Guide?

For optimal health, Health Canada recommends that we get most of our daily energy (45-65%) from carbohydrate. That is why the Food Guide encourages Canadians to emphasize vegetables and fruit and grain products. These carbohydrate-rich foods naturally contain sugars. Sugars are also found naturally in milk products. Sugars are also added to a wide range of foods found in the four food groups, such as breakfast cereals, yogurt, and tomato sauce. Enjoyed in moderation, sugars add taste and enjoyment to healthy eating.