Each day, we have to make smart choices about our lifestyles and the food that we eat. The choices we make for our families and ourselves when it comes to what we eat determines our ability to stay healthy and to enjoy our life to the fullest.
So, it’s always good to know about the food that can help improve your lifestyle.
The new Health Canada itinerary-
According to Health Canada, the upcoming food guide iteration which is due at the beginning of 2018 will encourage people to prefer chickpeas instead of cheddar. The iteration will also steer people away from animal-based proteins instead of plant-based proteins.
Take note that Health Canada isn’t recommending people to shun proteins and animal-based products. However, it does suggest that skipping all those proteins altogether is better for water and soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.
The preliminary recommendations in the upcoming itinerary urge people to include a high quantity of plant-based foods. It also encourages people to eat lower amounts of red meat like goat, lamb, pork, and beef meat.
Furthermore, it also suggests the people replace foods which contain saturated fat like butter, high-fat cheeses, and cream with unsaturated fats such as avocados, seeds, and nuts.
What is better; dairy products or vegan products?
Moderate intake of legumes, vegetables, and fruits (three servings daily) is enough to lower the risk of death and cardiovascular diseases in a person.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology, also known as the PURE trial found that the total fat, as well as the individual kinds of fat including the saturated kind, had no links with an increased risk of death because of cardiovascular disease or heart attacks.
It has been reported that red meat and dairy are the main sources of saturated fat in an average Canadian’s diet.
The same study also stated that people who ate up to four servings of legumes, vegetables, and fruits on a daily basis were at a decreased risk of death.
Moreover, Health Canada’s evidence review of 2015 also mentions a link between lowered cholesterol and soy. Furthermore, it also mentions that processed meat, as well as red meat, increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
Similarly, saturated fat has been associated with an increase in the chance of becoming a victim of a stroke and heart attack. Meanwhile, foods rich in fiber have found to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
The question that arises here is that should Canadians now turn more towards vegan products or should they increase their consumption of dairy products and meat?
The answer to this question can only be answered after understanding the benefits and disadvantages of both diets.
Can dairy farmers make Canada healthier?
Calcium is a vital element that helps to strengthen bones. Since our bones are continuously undergoing remodeling, the body removes small amounts of bone calcium and replaces it with new calcium.
This means that the body should have a sufficient amount of calcium so that during the remodeling process, the overall bone density doesn’t decrease. Since vegan diets contain a lower amount of calcium than dairy diet does, you might put your bones at risk.
Various dairy products such as yogurt, butter, milk, ice cream, and cheese contain a significant amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. While saturated itself is not harmful, diets that contain a high amount of it can lead to many health problems including heart diseases.
On the other hand, a plant-based diet with no dairy products combined with stress management, smoking cessation, and exercise can prevent heart diseases. However, plant-based low-fat diets don’t contain all the minerals and vitamins needed for a healthy Canadian life.
Moreover, consuming dairy products has been associated with a high risk of many cancers, particularly cancers related to the reproductive system. Furthermore, there is also a link between the consumption of meat and dairy products and breast and prostate cancers.
Canadians have already reduced the amount of red meat and milk that they consume which might be harmful to their health. Animal proteins are complete proteins and provide all the essential amino acids that man requires for skeletal muscle growth while plant-based proteins are incomplete proteins.
Protein is also vital for healing, fighting diseases, proper amino function, and building muscle mass. Thus, opting for a strictly vegan diet can be problematic for development and growth.
How can a vegan diet make Canada healthier?
It is widely believed that a vegan diet is a much superior diet than the other eating methods. A vegan diet is considered the healthiest option since plant foods are full of various nutrients that safeguard our health.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that according to their evidence-based review a vegan diet leads to a lower risk of death due to ischemic heart disease. Due to their different diets, it is found that vegans have a lower rate of hypertension, lower risk of type 2-diabetes, lower blood pressure, and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein than those who follow a diet focusing on meat and dairy products.
Moreover, the body mass index of vegetarians is also lower which puts them at a lower risk of chronic diseases and cancer.
However, it is crucial for vegetarians to understand that they should get all the key nutrients from their diet including vitamin B12, calcium, iodine, zinc, fatty acids, protein, iodine, and vitamin D.
Statistics Canada, in 2013, shared their result of a Canada wide survey they did to determine the status of vitamin D in Canadians. It was found that 10% of people were deficient and 32% had insufficient amounts.
It was also found that people who consumed milk at least once a day had a higher amount of vitamin D. So, cutting out dairy products from your diet might be harmful.
Furthermore, according to a recent study, vegetarians are more likely to suffer from depression as compared to those that consume meat. Without any meat, the diet of a vegetarian has low amounts of vitamin B12 and an increased intake of nuts that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids.
Too much omega-6 can increase the risk of mental health issues. It has also been found that 50% of vegans are deficient in vitamin B12 since not many vegan products contain this vitamin while red meat is rich in it.
Other risks that are associated with turning towards a strictly vegan diet include high blood levels of phytoestrogens because of soya and vegetables and an increased risk of depressive symptoms because of low intake of seafood.
Also, you need to be careful when it comes to the number of nuts you add to your diet to make up for the daily protein intake, particularly if you want to lose weight.
Since you need around 20 to 30 grams of protein in each meal, and one ounce of nuts contains only 5 grams of protein, you will have to eat a lot of calories to get the required protein. Yes, nuts are healthy foods, but they contain a high amount of calories and fat!
What’s the final verdict?
The bottom line is that consuming only dairy products and meat is harmful while centering your diet only around vegan products will also not provide you with all the necessary nutrients. The key is to find a balance between the two to live a healthier life.
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