Nav: Home

New food guide will save Canadians money but few are following it, study finds

March 14, 2019

The good news is the new Canada's Food Guide will save a family of four $475 annually on grocery bills, according to a new University of Guelph study.

The bad news is less than a third of Canadians are regularly following the guide, the study also revealed.

Conducted with Dalhousie University, the study entailed a cost analysis of the new guide and surveyed Canadians' perception of the long-standing governmental tool.

"It's the first real change in Canada's Food Guide in a decade, so we thought it would be important to understand what the recent changes mean for Canadians," said Prof. Simon Somogyi, co-lead author and Arrell Chair in the Business of Food in the College of Business and Economics.

For their cost analysis, the researchers created four plates and compared the portions and foods recommended in the old guide to recommendations in the new guide. They found following the new guide will save Canadian families on average 6.8 per cent of their annual food costs, or about $1.30 a day and $475 a year for a family of four.

"What we found cost-wise is that the new guide is making Canadians more food secure," said Somogyi. "This is a welcome change because it should allow families with lower incomes to still be able to eat nutritiously."

The new guide is more affordable for families because it recommends less meat and dairy than the old one and replaces these foods with plant-based proteins, which are cheaper, he added.

"The old guide also recommended drinking large amounts of milk whereas the new one recommends drinking water, which obviously will result in cost savings."

However, researchers caution the savings could only last a few years.

"Produce prices and access to vegetable proteins will increasingly become problematic over time, putting pressure on food prices," said Prof. Sylvain Charlebois, in the faculties of Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University and lead author of the report.

"The gap between the old and new guide could narrow, and potentially disappear by 2021, if our domestic production capacity issues are not addressed."

As part of the study, the researchers also surveyed 1,000 Canadian consumers about whether and how often they use the guide.

They found 75 per cent of Canadians are aware of the new food guide, but less than a third have consulted it in the last 12 months for advice on healthy eating. Overall the Canada Food Guide is the 6th most popular source for nutrition recommendations, the study found.

"The guide is a fantastic tool for telling us what we should be eating and how much, but unfortunately few people are using it as their main source of information," said Somogyi.

Instead, almost 40 per cent of Canadians turn to family and friends or do their own online research for diet guidance. Baby boomers are most likely to rely on cookbooks and magazines, while millennials and Generation Zers count on celebrities and social media for nutrition tips.

"It's not a lost cause, it just means the information contained in the guide may need to be communicated in different ways," said Somogyi. "For example, if we want millennials and Gen Zs to use the information, then we need to put it out on social media. We need to use the tools that they are using."
-end-


University of Guelph

Related Social Media Articles:

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.
Using social media to understand the vaccine debate in China
Vaccine acceptance is a crucial public health issue, which has been exacerbated by the use of social media to spread content expressing vaccine hesitancy.
Vaccine misinformation and social media
People who rely on social media for information were more likely to be misinformed about vaccines than those who rely on traditional media, according to a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
How social media makes breakups that much worse
Even those who use Facebook features like unfriending, unfollowing, blocking and Take a Break still experience troubling encounters with ex-partners online, a new study shows.
Teens must 'get smart' about social media
New research indicates that social media is leading young adolescent girls and boys down a worrying path towards developing body image issues and eating disorder behaviours - even though they are smartphone savvy.
Social media use and disordered eating in young adolescents
New research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders suggests that social media, particularly platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing, is associated with disordered eating in young adolescents.
STD crowd-diagnosis requests on social media
Online postings seeking information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the social media website Reddit were analyzed to see how often requests were made for a crowd-diagnosis and whether the requested diagnosis was for a second opinion after seeing a health care professional.
Cynical social media voices can erode trust in news media
Amid rising concerns about low public trust in mainstream media institutions, a Rutgers study found that real-life and online social interactions can strongly influence a person's trust in newspaper, TV and online journalism -- but when it comes to online interactions, cynical views are the most influential.
Social media use by adolescents linked to internalizing behaviors
A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to report high levels of internalizing behaviors compared to adolescents who do not use social media at all.
Social media stress can lead to social media addiction
Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.
More Social Media News and Social Media Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.