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Canada's new Food Guide includes dietary supplements

By Clarisse Douaud , 12-Feb-2007

For the first time, Canada's official Food Guide has made provisions for supplements. A trade association has endorsed these changes though it is calling on the government to give dietary supplements more play in the document.

Health Canada, a branch of the federal government, issues a guide similar to the United States Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid. The latest version of Canada's Food Guide makes vitamin recommendations for women of childbearing age as well as for older people. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) expressed its approval of these changes.

However, CHFA said it is encouraging the Canadian government to make more broad based recommendations to the public, based on the weight of scientific literature pointing to the benefits regular supplementation with certain nutrients may have on health care cost savings.

Previously, the Canadian Food Guide did not include mention of dietary supplements.

"The revised recommendations are in keeping with evidence-based research that shows supplements are a simple, cost-effective way to promote and maintain good health and help prevent chronic disease," said CHFA vice-president and head of regulatory affairs, Anne Wilkie.

The new Food Guide recommends women of childbearing age take a multivitamin containing folic acid every day and suggests pregnant women check their multivitamin contains iron. As well, the Food Guide tells Canadian men and women over the age of 50 they need additional vitamin D and suggests a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.

"It was quite progressive on their part to do that," CHFA communications coordinator Natalie Cajic told NutraIngredients-USA.

This latest Food Guide was launched last week and this week CHFA has expressed its desire that the government take its promotion of vitamins up a notch.

"…the CHFA encourages all levels of government to investigate tax incentives to encourage self-care through healthy eating and supplement use," said the organization.

CHFA is a trade association representing the organic and natural products industry in Canada.

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