Translating “protein foods” from the new Canada’s Food Guide to consumers: knowledge gaps and recommendations Academic Article uri icon

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  • The revised version of Canada’s Food Guide, released in January 2019, issued new guidance by combining meat and alternatives with milk and alternatives into a single group called “protein foods” and emphasized selecting plant-based foods from this category more often. Though the changes represent a simple depiction of a healthy plate, the new Food Guide has opened knowledge gaps about protein foods and exposed new concerns about the interpretation and implementation of the Food Guide among vulnerable groups, particularly children and the elderly. To address key knowledge and research gaps, nutrition leaders need to reach a consensus on key messages to best inform the development of tools and resources to support practitioners in translating messages to consumers, including foodservice standards. Among consumers, families with young children are a primary target for these resources as they develop their life-long habits to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to select, prepare, and consume nutrient-rich protein foods. The new Food Guide provides an opportunity to address the existing knowledge gaps, develop tools and resources to support health professionals, and design interventions that will help Canadian families choose, prepare, and eat nutrient-rich protein foods. Novelty An updated Canadian regulatory framework is needed for protein labelling and content/health claims. There are knowledge gaps about protein foods consumption and food literacy needed to optimize nutritional health. Mandatory nutrition policies are needed to safeguard the provision of high-quality protein foods across institutions that serve children and older adults.


  • Fernandez, Melissa A
  • Bertolo, Robert F
  • Duncan, Alison M
  • Phillips, Stuart
  • Elango, Rajavel
  • Ma, David WL
  • Desroches, Sophie
  • Grantham, Andrea
  • House, James D

publication date

  • December 2020