An apple a day... maybe not in Canada
University of British Columbia research has found a distinct change in food group intake over the past 11 years. A 13% decrease in the amount of fruit and vegetables being consumed by Canadians was revealed. And while consumption of milk and dairy products also declined during the study period between 2004 and 2015, Canadians were eating more meat and alternatives in 2015 than they were a decade earlier.
“It’s essential to look at what foods people are eating and whether food group intakes have changed over time to identify challenges and opportunities to promote healthier eating patterns among Canadians,” said Claire Tugault-Lafleur, a postdoctoral fellow in UBC’s food, nutrition and health program, who was lead author of the study published in Nutrients.
Researchers examined dietary data from two nationwide surveys involving more than 50,000 Canadians aged two and older. In both 2004 and 2015, respondents provided information about food and beverages they had consumed in the past 24 hours.
In 2015, Canadians reported consuming an average of 4.6 servings of total fruit and vegetables daily, down from 5.2 servings per day in 2004. The decrease was largely explained by fewer servings of vegetables (outside the dark green and orange category), potatoes and fruit juices. While Canadians increased their intake of dark green and orange vegetables, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds over this time, the average daily intake of other healthy dietary components like whole fruit, whole grains, fish and shellfish was stagnant. Canadians also reported fewer daily servings of fluid milk in 2015 compared to 2004.
The researchers were encouraged to find that energy from sugary beverages declined, on average, by 32 calories per day, and the decrease was more substantial among young people. For example, Canadian adolescents (aged 13 to 17) reported consuming, on average, 73 fewer daily calories from sugary beverages — a 43% decrease from 2004.
The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
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