UBC study finds Canadian fruit and vegetable consumption down by 13 per cent

Canadians have cut back significantly on their fruit and vegetable intake over the last decade, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

The new study, which looked at data collected in a pair of nationwide studies of more than 50,000 people in 2004 and in 2015, was published Friday in the journal Nutrients.

It found a drop of about 13 per cent in Canadian fruit and veggie consumption, along with a slide in milk and dairy consumption, while consumption of meat and meat alternative products had increased.

Canadians reported eating 4.6 daily servings of fruit and vegetables in 2015, down from 5.2 servings per day in 2004, according to the study.

It found that people had increased their consumption of legumes, dark green and orange vegetables, however, reported consuming fewer servings of other vegetables, potatoes, and fruit juices.

Consumption of other healthy items such as whole fruit, whole grains and fish remained flat over the period studied.

Researchers also found that Canadians had cut back on sugary drinks, shaving about 32 calories per day on average.

That decline was more pronounced among young people, with teens aged 13 to 17 consuming about 73 fewer calories per day from sugary drinks, a drop of 43 per cent from 2004.

The study’s authors highlighted the findings in the context of the 2007 Canada Food Guide, which makes recommendations about the amount and types of foods people should be eating from the core food groups.

They say while the study found some shifts in consumption were in line with the recommendations, others are concerning such as no increase in the consumption of whole fruits, grains and fish, or the decrease in milk and vegetable consumption.

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