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Applying Canada's Dietary Guidelines

Evidence base for Applying the Guidelines

Multiple sources of evidence were used in developing Applying Canada's Dietary Guidelines. This evidence builds on the evidence used to develop Canada’s Dietary Guidelines.

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How evidence sources were analysed

Analyses of the food and nutrient intakes of people living in Canada were conducted. Data sources included:

  • the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition
  • scientific publications that examined nutrient intakes in the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study, the Inuit Health Survey, the First Nations Regional Health Survey, and the Aboriginal Peoples Survey
  • scientific publications that examined nutrient intakes during pregnancy and breastfeeding using data from cohort studies conducted in Canada

Composite diet simulations were conducted to help determine combinations of types of foods recommended in Canada’s Dietary Guidelines that will help to meet nutrient needs across the different life stages, while providing flexibility in food choices.

The Dietary Reference Intakes values provided data on nutrient needs, including special considerations related to life stages and vegetarian diets. 

Development of dietary shifts information

Findings on the food and nutrient intakes of people living in Canada were integrated to develop Dietary shifts people living in Canada can make for healthier eating. Analyses included:

  • identification of low intakes of vitamins and minerals relative to dietary requirements and excessive intakes of nutrients of concern
  • assessment of the top food and beverage sources of vitamins, minerals, saturated fat, free sugars and sodium in the diets of people living in Canada relative to the recommendations made in Canada’s Dietary Guidelines
  • examination of the proportional consumption of different food types (amount of vegetables and fruit as a proportion of total foods; whole grain foods as a proportion of total grain foods; plant-based protein foods as a proportion of total protein foods)

Development of information focused on supporting nutrient adequacy

Composite diet simulations underpin the information on What nutritious foods to provide and how often as well as Advice on nutrition for different life stages.

This information provides a description of one way in which the nutritious foods recommended in Canada’s Dietary Guidelines could be combined to help meet nutrient needs:

  • by including certain types of vegetables and protein foods that can help meet nutrient needs
  • without contributing to excess consumption of sodium, free sugars and saturated fat

Development of information to support Applying the Guidelines for different life stages

Life stage-specific analyses helped to identify the types of foods to emphasize to help meet increased nutrient needs and improve dietary intakes. These analyses took into account:

  • diet simulations
  • life stage-specific nutrient requirements, especially the identification of needs that are increased relative to energy
  • life stage-specific data on nutrient intakes

Nutrition considerations for children and adolescents and during pregnancy and to support breastfeeding integrate findings from these analyses.