Report shows consumers are eating more protein than ever before
Results from the newest Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) report Canadians are consuming more of their calories from protein than they did more than a decade ago. Fat consumption amongst adults increased slightly and there was a small decline in carbohydrates consumption.
According to Dr. David Ma, PhD, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph: “While there are some differences in consumption since the last survey in 2004, data shows Canadians are generally consuming carbohydrates, fats and protein within recommended ranges. We need to eat these in the right proportions of total energy to reduce risk of chronic disease and to provide enough essential nutrients.”
The report notes that for children and teenagers, the percentage of daily energy intake from protein increased one per cent (from 14.6 per cent in 2004 to 15.6 per cent in 2015). For adults, it edged up from 16.5 per cent to 17.0 per cent. This still lingers at the lower end of the acceptable range of 10 to 35 per cent of calories set by the Institute of Medicine.
“The data is encouraging as the previous national survey showed Canadians were consuming protein at the lower end of the acceptable distribution range,” said Dr. Stuart Phillips, PhD, Director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) and McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Research. “Protein is essential for all tissues in the body, providing amino acids that are important for growth and development. Protein is particularly important for older people to help slow muscle loss.”
“Based on my research, consuming even more than the recommended amount of high quality protein, from nutrient-rich sources such as pork, beef, lamb, dairy products and eggs throughout the day, combined with regular exercise, helps prevent the loss of muscle tissue as we age,” he adds.
Many Canadians consume an abundance of foods, but many do not obtain the nutrients they require for good health. Meat, for example, is a compact source of many nutrients that are essential for good health and life. These include: protein, phosphorus, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, thiamin, vitamin D, niacin, and riboflavin.
“Research shows that diets with increased protein and reduced carbohydrates may help prevent Type 2 diabetes by facilitating weight loss through increased satiety, increased thermogenesis, and muscle retention,” said Mary Ann Binnie of the Paris-based International Meat Secretariat Nutrition Committee and a Canadian Meat Council spokesperson. “This is especially important given the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes has tripled in the past 20 years.”