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  • Ha Nguyen

How have diets changed throughout the year in Canada

Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es

- Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are -

Jean Anthelme Brillat - Savarin

Photo source: Ha Nguyen

Image source: Sarah Belissima

Test your knowledge

Before getting started, do you know:

- What year was junk food created?

- What year was canned food invented?

- What year was Coca Cola invented?


Canadians love potatoes. That is just a fact. A few popular traditional dishes made from potatoes are poutine, pommes persillade, pâté chinois and rappie pie. According to an article from Statistics Canada by Barbara McLaughlin, Canadians consumed about 113 kilograms of

vegetables in 2003 and 30% of it is potatoes.

Image source: Henry

As time passed by, the typical “potato and meat” meal was soon replaced by pasta and other carbohydrates sources such as rice due to the diversity of immigrants in Canada. [1]

Image source: Sarah Belissima

A wave against fat

During the 1900s, people started to become aware of their food intake and nutritional values. Unfortunately, a trend of having no fat and/or low fat diets gained popularity, along with

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boycotting products that contained fat. Due to the lack of nutritional knowledge in the general

population, people chose to stay away from fat without knowing about the different types of fats.

During that era, products with “fat free” or “low fat” labels were created. [11]

Nowadays, people are more aware of the different types of fat. Generally speaking, most people

know of fats as “healthy fat” and “unhealthy fat”. Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are proven to lower the risk of diseases. Good fat can be found in

vegetable oil, nuts, fish and seeds. [6]

Unhealthy fats are trans fat and saturated fats. Trans fat can increase disease risks even when

taken in very small amounts. Processed food has a lot of trans fat from partially hydrogenated

oil. Eating too much trans fat can cause blood sugar, cholesterol, heart problems and several

other diseases. Saturated fat is not as harmful as trans fat, but it is recommended to consume with

moderation for better health. [6] Saturated fat can be found in red meat, dairy products, coconut

oil or palm oil. [7]

Low carb diet

For those who follow dietary trends, a low carb diet has been a huge one in the last decade. It is

not recommended to cut carb completely out of your diet. However, being selective with carb is

never a bad choice. Low carb diets limit carbohydrates intake in rice, pasta, starchy vegetables,

etc while focusing on protein intake, fat and healthy vegetables. [1]

A few well-known low carb diets are keto diets, zero carb diet, the Atkins diet and low carb

Paleo diet. It is believed to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure

and weight loss. [1]

Image source: Sarah Belissima

Cultivated meat - the new trend for the future

Cultivated meat - commonly known as lab meat - is making its way to the market and potentially

(even expectedly) taking over and replacing the old-fashioned meat in the near future.

Cultivated meat is produced by taking a small sample of stem cells in lean muscles to reproduce

those cells in a culture. After a significant amount of cells have grown, it creates muscle tissues

that are extremely identical to muscle fiber in steak. This end product is 100% real meat as it is

extracted from the animal and shares similar DNA as well as chemical structure. The only

difference is this meat can be made without shedding any animal’s blood. This process takes 6 to

8 weeks. [2]

Designed by: Ha Nguyen

Apart from its ethical benefit, cultivated meat is also believed to have a great advantage in

health, economy and ecology. According to the Environmental, Science & Technology’s article

in 2011, 1000 kg cultured meat will reduce energy consumption by up to 45%, land consumption

by 99%, freshwater usage by 96% and greenhouse gas (methane) emissions by up to 96%. [4]

However, recent studies raise concern about carbon emission due to its industrialized

manufacturing process, and its ecological benefits are called into question.

Lab grown meat is also believed to have several health benefits, as it is clean, antibiotic free and

disease free. Since scientists can control the whole production process, nutritional values such as

fat, protein or cholesterol levels are expected to be adjustable. However, no scientific evidence

has either confirmed or refuted any of these claims. [12]

Despite all the unknown pros and cons of cultivated meat, the government has high hope for it.

As the world population grows, the demand for food also rises rapidly. Therefore, lab grown

meat can be a viable option as it requires less time and eventually, less money to mass produce.

[12] Singapore is the first country to approve the sale of cultivated meat to the general public and

the responses have been positive [13]. Along with Singapore, many countries attempt to complete

their cultured meat technology and make it more accessible to the public. Many Canadian

universities, including University of McMaster, University of Toronto and University of Guelph

are involved in this project. [5]

With all the expectations and hard work from scientists, lab grown meat will make its way to

your dinner table sooner than you might think. With all the pros and cons in mind, would you try

it out?


- Junk food was created in 1893. The first American junk food was called Cracker Jack - a

sweet and salty popcorn coated with caramels and peanuts. [8]

- Canned food was invented in 1810 by Nicolas Appert to help preserve food for the army

and navy.[9]

- Coca Cola was invented in 1892 in Georgia, United States. [10]


1. “Can a Low-Carb Diet Help You Lose Weight?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical

Education and Research, 18 Nov. 2020,

2. Post, Dr Mark. “What Is 'Cultivated Meat'?” FOUR PAWS International - Animal Welfare

Organisation, 26 Aug. 2021,


3. “How Lab-Grown Meat Is Made.” Bio Market Insights, 5 July 2021,

4. L. Tuomisto, Hanna. ACS Publications: Chemistry Journals, Books, and ... 2015,

5. Media, Odvod. “This Edmonton Company Is Working on the Future of Lab-Grown Meat.”

Edify., 23 July 2021,


6. “Fats and Cholesterol.” The Nutrition Source, 22 May 2019,

7. Link, Rachael. “Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil: Uses, Downsides, and Food Sources.”

Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Sept. 2019,

8. Roos, Dave. “How Junk Food Works.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 3 Apr. 2015,

9. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "canning". Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Nov. 2021,

10. “Coca-Cola History.” The Coca-Cola Company,

11. La Berge, Ann F., 2008,

12. “7 Reasons Why Lab-Grown Meat Will Be Better.” World Animal Protection, 24 Apr. 2020,

13. “Singapore Approves Lab-Grown 'Chicken' Meat.” BBC News, BBC, 2 Dec. 2020,

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