The Canadian Food Guide & Life Insurance

Goodbye rainbow of food groups, hello mindful eating. The Canadian Food Guide that many recognize as a rainbow of food groups was published in 2007 and finally received a highly anticipated makeover in January of 2019. The changes have been called “historic” and “extremely positive” by many scientists.

So, What’s Changed?

The Canadian Food Guide now features three food groups, which include vegetables and fruits, whole grains (quinoa, brown rice and whole grain pasta) and protein foods (chickpeas, lentils, fortified soy beverages, nuts, seeds, tofu, lean meats and low fat dairy foods).  The Guide no longer suggests a set number of servings per food group, but encourages Canadians to focus on proportions and filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

The Focus of the Canadian Food Guide

The Guide comes with simple recommendations:

  • Be mindful of your eating habits
  • Cook more often
  • Enjoy your food
  • Eat meals with others
  • Use food labels
  • Limit foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat
  • Be aware of food marketing

Can Healthy Eating Affect My Client’s Life Insurance?

Absolutely. As we know, underwriters assess risk of mortality based on age, lifestyle and health. Not surprisingly, food plays a large role in determining one’s health, which is why paying attention to the new Food Guide is important. Proper nutrition is crucial as poor diets are linked to health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

On our Rating Guides section of Know the Risk, you can see that these health risks have moderate to severe ratings. More severe health risks, such as diseases leading to heart attacks, have an outright “decline”. This means that the insurance company has decided that the risk is prohibitively high and the company is not prepared to assume the risk of your client.


Help educate your client on the effects of diet on life insurance with the three tips outlined in our client article.


This article is provided by Know the Risk, an educational website that contains underwriting information for insurance professionals, available exclusively to Advisors affiliated with PPI (login required).

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The Canadian Food Guide: Tips for a Long & Healthy Life