Knowledge for better food systems

Canada’s dietary guidelines

Canada’s new dietary guidelines include environmental considerations as well as health, suggesting that diets higher in plant-based foods generally help to conserve “soil, water and air”.

The report also discusses the environmental importance of food loss and food waste, and points out that measuring the environmental impacts of food choices is “complex and challenging”, depending on many factors.

See World Resources Institute researcher Richard Waite's Twitter thread for a discussion of which countries include environmental criteria in their dietary guidelines.

Read the full report, Canada’s Dietary Guidelines for Health Professionals and Policy Makers, here. Section 1 discusses environmental impacts. See also the Foodsource chapter What is a healthy sustainable eating pattern? The FCRN report Plates, pyramids and planet looks at the extent to which dietary guidelines worldwide incorporate sustainability.

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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