Should Canadians eat according to the traditional Mediterranean diet pyramid or Canada's food guide?

Shauna M. Downs, Noreen D. Willows

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Eating well with Canada's food guide (CFG) was developed by Health Canada as an education tool to encourage the Canadian public to have eating habits that meet nutrient needs, promote health, and reduce the risk of nutrition-related chronic disease. It was developed in the Canadian context and reflects the food supply available to Canadians, as well as food choices made by Canadians. There are other dietary patterns that are consistent with health such as the traditional Mediterranean diet (TMD), which has gained popularity in Canada. The potentially different food choices that Canadians could make if they were to follow one guide over the other might significantly influence population health. Although the two guides differ in their recommendations for red wine, fats, and meat and meat alternatives, they both promote a diet rich in grains, fruits, and vegetables. The CFG may have some advantages over the TMD for Canadians, such as focusing on vitamin D and recommending limited alcoholic beverage intake. Some shortcomings of the CFG compared with the TMD are the grouping of animal proteins with nuts, seeds, and legumes into a single category, and not recommending limits for red meat consumption. If Canadians following the CFG were to choose whole grains and vegetarian options from the meat and alternatives category more often, the CFG may be preferable to TMD for Canadians. The TMD is an alternative to the CFG for Canadians if sources of vitamin D are included in the diet and wine consumption is limited or is imbibed in moderation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-535
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


  • Canada's food guide
  • Food guides
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Public health


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