New dietary guidelines from the Canadian government have abandoned recommending daily dairy consumption, in the first update to the food guide since 2007, according to BBC News. The guide includes dairy in a category with other proteins, which it recommends make up about a quarter of daily food intake. The move is a blow to the dairy lobby, which they had been accused of catering to with pro-dairy guidelines in the past.
“We were very clear that when we were looking at the evidence base that we were not going to be using reports that have been funded by industry as well,” said Dr. Hasan Hutchinson, director-general of Canada’s nutrition policy and promotion office.
The new guidelines also abandon traditional food groups, serving sizes, and the recommendation that whole fruits can be replaced by fruit juice.
Since the guidelines were first published in 1942, they’ve promoted a diet that includes several servings of dairy each day.
The new guideline also aims for a more intuitive approach, with a plate diagram that includes one quarter vegetables, one quarter fruits, one quarter grains, and one quarter proteins – including dairy.
American food guidelines made a similar move in 2011, abandoning the food pyramid in favor of “MyPlate” guidelines. But the American recommendations do include a glass of milk, unlike the new Canadian ones.
Overall, the new guidelines move in a much more plant-based direction, recommending that proteins should often come from plant sources such as tofu, legumes, and nuts.
Instead of suggesting milk, the guidelines promote water as a beverage choice with meals, cautioning in particular against flavored milks such as chocolate milk, as well as juice, citing the role sugary drinks have played in increasing child obesity.
The guide “is moving in a plant-based direction, which will ruffle some feathers, but I think that’s the direction it needs to go,” said Dr. David Jenkins, a Nutritional Sciences professor at the University of Toronto. “It’s not particularly new to say eat more fruits and veggies, people have been saying this for a while.”
The Dairy Farmers of Canada said in a statement this month that the move could hurt Canadian farmers, especially amid trade negotiations with the US.
“There is no scientific justification to minimize the role of milk products in a healthy diet,” they said, referring to several studies promoting the health benefits of milk.
The dairy industry has already faced tough times in recent years, with milk consumption in the US falling 13 percent over the last decade. Much of that decline has been the result of competition from plant-based milk alternatives.