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Support Change to Canada’s Dietary Guidelines

The current low fat guidelines were never supported by evidence.

  1. The scientific report guiding the US dietary guidelines: is it scientific?
  2. Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Since the low fat dietary guidelines were issued, the costs associated with treating diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome have steadily risen and are expected to bankrupt our health care system.
A recent report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation states that sugar sweetened beverages alone will cost our health care system 50 billion dollars in the next 25 years. There is now good evidence that sugar (especially fructose), as opposed to fat, is the main driver of obesity and diabetes, and medical research is now implicating sugar in heart disease. As physicians, we have a responsibility to advocate for change to these dietary guidelines, and as a profession, we have been too complacent for too long.

Our Efforts

December 16, 2016

Our Initial Open Letter

When we learned that Health Canda was to begin open consultation about the Food Guide, we submitted a letter with 190 signatures from concerned Canadian physicians and allied health providers.

July 24, 2017

Rebuttal Letter

Following Health Canada’s proposed changes to the Food Guide, we submitted this rebuttal letter and submitted a revised version of the initial open letter, now with 717 signatures.

September 2017

Response From the Health Minister

We received this response to our rebuttal letter  from the Health Minister, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, which does not address our concerns about the inadequacies of the Food Guide and the ‘evidence base’.  

September 2017

Reply to Health Minister

Our latest reply to the Health Minister’s letter in which we note the failure to address our ongoing concerns,  and highlight flaws in their ‘evidence base’.  Despite asking for a meeting to review our concerns, we have received no further response.

March 2018

Front of Package Labelling

We submitted this letter in response to Health Canada’s proposed front of packaged labelling for sugar, salt and saturated fat. The scientific evidence clearly does not support the existing recommendations to limit salt and saturated fat. Find a detailed summary of the evidence on salt and saturated fat here.

Here is a letter you can send to your Member of Parliament regarding front of package labelling on salt and saturated fat.

May 2018

Meeting with Health canada

After 1.5 years of advocacy efforts, members of the Canadian Clinicians for Therapeutic Nutrition were invited to Ottawa to meet with Health Canada to discuss the proposed Food Guide changes and Front of Package labelling. This was a very positive meeting, and we had meaningful discussion regarding our concerns with the evidence surrounding saturated fat and salt. We left Health Canada with this letter outlining our recommendations.

The next step is to have our Parliamentary petition presented by John Aldag, our supporting Member of Parliament. The petition is open for signatures until July 18, 2018.

July 2018

Final Letter to Minister of Health

In May 2018, members of the CCTN met with Health Canada, and advised that Front of Package warnings on saturated fat and salt are not supported by evidence. The experts do not agree. If the experts do not agree, then we cannot issue population-wide guidelines to restrict saturated fat and salt. Taking sides in an unanswered scientific question is both cavalier and potentially dangerous to Canadians, and risks unintended health consequences.

The CCTN has written a final letter to the Minister of Health, where we advise of our ongoing concerns about these proposed Front of Package warnings. These warnings appear to be going ahead despite Health Canada hearing from both front line physicians like us, and from renowned Canadian epidemiologists and scientists. Read a copy of the letter here, where we urge the Minister of Health to conduct an independent scientific review of the evidence before proceeding with these warning labels.