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Fruits, Yogurt On Rise In Canadians’ Diets

The Canadian diet included fewer oils, red meats and soft drinks but more fruit and yogurt in 2008 compared to the previous year, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal statistics agency on May 27 released its 2008 report on food available for consumption, finding that Canadians’ total daily intake of calories per person is down to 2,382 calories from its peak of 2,513 in 2001 – a drop which StatsCan said reflects lower amounts of oils, red meats and soft drinks in the diet.

The Canadian diet instead includes more poultry meat, wine, breakfast cereals, yogurt, berries, processed fruits, asparagus and tea, StatsCan said, noting fruit and breakfast cereal intake at record highs.

Canadians have raised their poultry intake per person by 1.9 kg in the past decade to 13.6 kg available per person in 2008, while cutting their red meat intake by 3.7 kg in the past 10 years, to 23.3 kg in 2008.

Chicken in the diet has remained stable over the past three years at 11.2 kg in 2008, while turkey, at 2.4 kg, is up six per cent in the same period. Beef/veal intake (12.8 kg) dropped while pork intake (9.7 kg) rose compared to 2006 levels. Total fish in the diet remained “stable” in 2008 at 6.6 kg.

Levels of eggs in the Canadian diet have remained relatively stable over the past 20 years at between 11.5 and 12.5 dozens, though Canadians had half a dozen fewer eggs in 2008 compared to 2006.


Breakfast cereals, at 4.1 kg per person in 2008, were “more popular than ever,” up 38 per cent from 20 years ago. But wheat flour intake dropped 2.3 kg to 43.7 kg, which StatsCan said may have had to do with its price increase of 34.5 per cent in the Consumer Price Index from 2007 to 2008. Pasta prices in the CPI rose 31.9 per cent in that time frame.

Rice available for consumption rose by 1.8 kg from 2007 levels, to seven kg per person in 2008.

Canadians’ “total milk” intake, including standard, skim, one and two per cent, chocolate milk and buttermilk, continued the decline it’s been in since the late 1980s, StatsCan said. Canadians drank 57.7 litres of milk per person in 2008, down from 70 in 1988. Ice cream intake is in its 14th year of decline, sitting at 4.8 litres in 2008, down 12 per cent from 2007.

Cheeses, however, “still remain popular” and Canadians have more than doubled the yogurt in their diet from 2.4 litres in 1998 to 5.4 litres per person in 2008.

Fresh and processed vegetables in the Canadian diet dropped four kg from 2005 levels to 79.5 kg in 2008, StatsCan said. Potatoes accounted for 44 per cent of total fresh vegetable intake, while potato chip and frozen potato intake both also increased in 2008.

Fresh asparagus intake has doubled in the past 20 years to 0.2 kg per person. Carrots, lettuce, onions and tomatoes, representing 27 per cent of the fresh vegetable portion of the diet, dropped by nine per cent from 2007.


Total available fruit, including both fresh and processed, reached a “record high” of 47.5 kg per person in 2008, StatsCan reported, noting blueberries (up 14 per cent per person from 2007) and cranberries (up 34 per cent) in particular to be increasingly popular.

Oranges in the Canadian diet rebounded in 2008 to 4.9 kg per capita. Availability of oranges had been down in 2007 due to frost damages in the U. S., StatsCan noted.

Oils and fats in the Canadian diet reached 18.1 kg in 2008, continuing on a downward slope and down slightly from 18.3 kg in 2007. The category includes butter, margarine, salad oils and shortening.

Availability of honey and maple products in the domestic diet both dropped in 2008. Quebec eliminated stocks of maple syrup during a below-average year for production, StatsCan said, while honey production dropped for a second year and large amounts were exported as international demand supported prices. Refined sugar in the Canadian diet rose to 32.1 kg in 2008, up one kg from 2007.

Availability of soft drinks, adjusted for losses, dropped to 73.2 litres from 76.4, StatsCan said. However, it noted, that drop doesn’t show the whole picture of soft drinks in the diet, as “energy drinks” and sports drinks aren’t in that category.

Canadians aged 15 and up drank 15 litres of wine per person in 2008, five times more than in the early 1960s, StatsCan said. Beer and spirits remained at the same levels per person in 2008 as in 2007, at 77.2 litres and 7.1 litres respectively. Tea consumption per capita rose to 79.4 litres.

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