More red meat, fewer carbs in Canadian diet

Red meats, wine and skim milk are playing a larger part of the Canadian diet at the expense of cereals and sugar, according to Statistics Canada.

According to the 2007 snapshot of food available for consumption, released Wednesday, the Canadian diet includes more fresh fruits, yogurts, cheeses, creams, red meats, exotic juices, low fat milk, wine and spirits. Canadians also prefer less cereal and sugar, and fewer oils, fats and eggs in their diet.

Estimates on food availability have been adjusted to account for losses in cooking, storage and waste that occur from homes, restaurants and institutions while preparing and processing food.

Total fresh fruits available, including citrus, set a new record in 2007, reaching 38.2 kg per person. The popularity of guavas and mangoes has increased 88 per cent from a decade ago. The Canadian diet includes 37.7 per cent more processed fruits than 20 years ago.

Compared with 20 years ago, Canadians now have 10.9 per cent more vegetables, excluding potatoes, in their diet; four times more garlic; more than twice as much asparagus and close to twice as many cucumbers. Exotic vegetables such as manioc, eggplant, kohlrabi and okra are also on the rise.

The use of standard and two per cent milk has declined and has been replaced partly by an increase of one per cent and skim milk in the diet. However, Canadians are eating more fat from cheese and cream products. On average, they had 6.2 litres of cream and 10.1 kg of cheeses in 2007.

In 2007, Canadians on average had 24.5 kg of red meats, which include beef, pork, mutton and veal; an increase of 0.7 kg from the previous year. There appears to be a shift in the type of fish preferred by Canadians. Shellfish products have decreased by almost 30 per cent in the past seven years, while, in 2007, the Canadian diet included almost 50 per cent more freshwater fish than a decade ago.

Total cereals available from the food supply declined to 56.9 kg per person in 2007, mostly influenced by a decrease in the availability of wheat flour. Rice, on the other hand increased to 5.2 kg per person.

The popularity of wine in 2007 climbed to a new record at 14.6 litres per person for Canadians aged 15 years and older. This represents an increase of almost 46 per cent compared with a decade ago. On the other hand, beer levels have remained fairly stable over the same period.

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