The Canada Food Guide is getting an overhaul and Canadian dairy farmers are angry.
According to the National Post, a major change in the new guide is a greater focus on plant-based sources of protein for “positive effects on health.” In fact, the new food guide cuts milk and cheese almost entirely, suggesting legumes and unsalted nuts as healthy alternatives to cheese and water instead of milk.
An earlier draft recommended “regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein.” The Canada Food Guide even takes the environment into consideration: “Diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are associated with a lesser environmental impact.” It’s great to see the latest version promote an increase in fresh whole foods and a decrease in meat, eggs, and dairy.
Dairy farmers are not happy about it, claiming it “risks harming Canadian consumers by creating confusion about the nutritional value of dairy.”
This isn’t the first time the Canadian government has fought the dairy industry. Last year, Health Canada, the governmental department responsible for the country’s public health, proposed warning labels for unhealthy foods high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. Dairy farmers fear that most of their products would fall under this category and consumers would rethink their purchases.
The truth is, the dairy industry should be scared. Milk and other dairy products are actually bad for you and increase health risks. In fact, dairy is the number one source of saturated fat in the U.S.
Dairy consumption has been linked to prostate cancer in more than 20 studies, while a 2006 Harvard study found women with diets high in meat and dairy increased their risk of cancer by 33 percent.
Shockingly, women who consume dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream, and cheese could raise their risk of mortality from breast cancer by 50 percent, according to an extensive 2013 study. The same study found that because milk products come from pregnant cows, they are particularly high in estrogen.
While the dairy industry touts milk as good for strong, healthy bones, populations that consume the most cow’s milk and other dairy products have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures, according to a study by musculoskeletal epidemiologist Tania Winzenberg and her colleagues.
If heightened disease risk weren’t scary enough, think about this: Animals suffer tremendously for dairy products. At dairy factory farms, cows are routinely brutalized, forcibly impregnated, and kept in horrendous conditions. Torn from their mothers soon after birth, male calves are killed for veal and most females are raised to produce more milk. At the end of their miserable and heartbreaking lives, cows at dairy farms are sent to a violent slaughter.
But you don’t have to wait for the government to take action. You can help protect your health and cows by withdrawing your financial support from the dairy industry.
With Danone seeking to triple the size of its plant-based business, Elmhurst Dairy going completely vegan, and other dairy companies investing in alternatives, it’s never been easier to be vegan.
To get started, check out our list of 17 vegan products that’ll make you forget all about dairy.