Health Fact Sheets
Nutrient intakes from food, 2015

Release date: June 20, 2017

Carbohydrates, fat and protein are the main sources of energy from food and are essential macronutrients that help our body function properly. Keeping the proportion of total energy intake for each macronutrient within a healthy range is related to a reduced risk of chronic diseases and to a diet that provides adequate amounts of essential nutrients.Note 1

In 2015, the Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition asked Canadians aged one and older about what and how much they ate and drank during the previous day (the 24 hours from midnight to midnight). This food and beverage consumption information was then converted to the number of calories and nutrients consumed as defined by Health Canada’s Canadian Nutrient File.Note 2

Energy intake from carbohydrates

Carbohydrates usually provide the most energy in human diets. There are two main types of carbohydrates: starch and sugar. Starch comes from grains products and vegetables such as breads, pasta, rice, corn or potatoes. Naturally occurring sugars are found in many foods such as fruit, milk and vegetables. Sources of added sugar include desserts (such as cookies, cakes and pies), soft drinks and candy.

Chart 1

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Male, Female and Both sexes, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Male Female Both sexes
percent
1 to 3 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 52.4
4 to 8 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 55.1
9 to 13 53.8 54.7 Note ...: not applicable
14 to 18 51.4 51.7 Note ...: not applicable
19 to 30 46.2 49.0 Note ...: not applicable
31 to 50 46.8 47.9 Note ...: not applicable
51 to 70 46.6 48.2 Note ...: not applicable
71 and over 49.0 50.8 Note ...: not applicable

In 2015, the average percentage of daily energy intake from carbohydrates was highest among younger Canadians aged 4 to 8 (55.1%) and aged 9 to 13 (male 53.8%, female 54.7%). The rates were quite similar among male (about 46%) and female (about 48%) adult age groups 19 to 30, 31 to 50 and 51 to 70 years old. After age 70, the percentage of daily energy intake from carbohydrates increased. The lowest percentage of total energy intake from carbohydrates among men was found at the 19 to 30 age group (46.2%) and for women in the 31 to 50 age group (47.9%). For all age groups, carbohydrates represented a higher proportion of total energy intake for females than males (Chart 1).

Energy intake from fat

Fat is found in both animal and plant-based foods such as meat, butter, nuts and vegetable oils. Each gram of fat provides 9 calories, more than double the energy provided by protein or carbohydrate (4 calories per gram). In addition to being an important energy source, fat also helps the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Chart 2

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Male, Female and Both sexes, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Male Female Both sexes
percent
1 to 3 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 31.6
4 to 8 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 29.6
9 to 13 30.9 30.6 Note ...: not applicable
14 to 18 31.7 32.0 Note ...: not applicable
19 to 30 32.7 31.9 Note ...: not applicable
31 to 50 32.4 32.9 Note ...: not applicable
51 to 70 32.2 31.6 Note ...: not applicable
71 and over 31.5 31.1 Note ...: not applicable

In 2015, young children aged 4 to 8 years obtained less than 30% of their daily energy from fat. For all other age groups, the proportion was slightly higher and ranged from 30% to 33%. The average percentage of daily energy intake from fat was highest among men (32.7%) aged 19 to 30 and women (32.9%) aged 31 to 50. There were no statistically significant differences in energy intake from fat by sex for any age group (Chart 2).

Energy intake from protein

Protein comes mainly from meat, eggs, dairy products, beans and seeds. It is the major structural component of all cells in the body and is needed for the production of neurotransmitters, vitamins, antibodies, and other important molecules.Note 3 Protein is a source of energy and provides essential amino acids particularly important for growth and development.

Chart 3

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Male, Female and Both sexes, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Male Female Both sexes
percent
1 to 3 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 16.0
4 to 8 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 15.2
9 to 13 15.3 14.7 Note ...: not applicable
14 to 18 16.6 16.2 Note ...: not applicable
19 to 30 17.9 16.8 Note ...: not applicable
31 to 50 17.2 17.1 Note ...: not applicable
51 to 70 17.1 17.0 Note ...: not applicable
71 and over 15.8 16.3 Note ...: not applicable

Young children aged 1 to 3 obtained 16.0% of their energy intake from protein. The average percentage of daily energy intake from protein increased steadily from the age group 9 to 13 years into adulthood, remained stable until 70 years old, then decreased at age 71 or older. Among men, the highest percentage of energy intake from protein was found among those aged 19 to 30 (17.9%). Among women it was highest (17.1%) among those aged 31 to 50. There were no statistically significant differences in the percentage of energy intake from protein between men and women aged 31 to 70 years old. (Chart 3).

Total energy intake

Energy intake from food (as measured in calories) should meet an individual’s energy needs that differ depending on a number of factors such as age, sex, weight, height, and activity level.Note 1 For example, older adults generally have lower energy needs than teenagers; and those who are active have higher energy needs than those who are sedentary.Note 4

Chart 4

Data table for Chart 4
Data table for Chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 4. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Male, Female and Both sexes, calculated using calories units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Male Female Both sexes
calories
1 to 3 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 1,308
4 to 8 Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable 1,657
9 to 13 2,024 1,843 Note ...: not applicable
14 to 18 2,440 1,764 Note ...: not applicable
19 to 30 2,427 1,655 Note ...: not applicable
31 to 50 2,236 1,630 Note ...: not applicable
51 to 70 2,081 1,578 Note ...: not applicable
71 and over 1,795 1,416 Note ...: not applicable

In 2015, on average males consumed more energy per day than females. For both sexes combined, average daily energy intake increased with age throughout childhood until the pre-teen years. Beginning with the 14 to 18 age group, differences between the sexes emerge. Compared with their counterparts aged 9 to 13, teenaged girls aged 14 to 18 consumed 4.3% fewer calories while teenaged boys consumed 20.6% more calories (Chart 4).

Among males, energy intake was highest at ages 14 to 18 years (2,440 calories), stayed relatively stable for young men aged 19 to 30 years old, and then declined steadily with age. In comparison, among females, energy intake was highest at ages 9 to 13 (1,843 calories) and then slightly declined from one age group to the next.

Nutrient intakes in the provinces

In all provinces, the energy intake from carbohydrates and fat by children and teenagers aged 1 to 18 was very close to the national average (carbohydrates at 53.4% and fat at 30.9%). The percentage of energy intake from protein was lower than the national level (15.6%) in Newfoundland and Labrador (14.9%), Nova Scotia (14.8%), New Brunswick (14.6%) and Manitoba (14.6%). There were no statistically significant differences from the national level in the data for children and teenagers in other provinces.

Adults aged 19 years and older in Newfoundland and Labrador consumed a higher percentage of energy intake from carbohydrates (49.1%) than the national level at 47.7%. In contrast, adults in Saskatchewan had less daily energy intake from carbohydrates (46.3%) than the national average.

Adults in most provinces consumed similar percentages of energy from fat with the national average at 32.2% except Nova Scotia adults with a higher rate at 33.2%.

Saskatchewan adults had a higher percentage of energy intake from protein (17.8%) while adults in Prince of Edward Island (16.3%), Nova Scotia (16.4%), New Brunswick (16.4%), Quebec (16.3%) and Manitoba (16.1%) had lower rates than the national level at 17.0%.

At the national level, the average daily total energy intake of children and teenagers aged 1 to 18 was 1,804 calories in 2015. Among those aged 14 to 18 years, boys (2,635 calories) in Alberta and girls (1,834 calories) in Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest energy intakes per day compared with their counterparts in other provinces.

Compared to the national level of total daily energy intake (1,879 calories), adults in Quebec and Alberta consumed more calories and Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia consumed fewer. Among seniors aged 71 and over, men in Saskatchewan had the lowest energy intake per day at 1,606 calories, women in Nova Scotia had the lowest at 1,349 calories.

Comparison with 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition

The 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition is a national health survey that collects information from Canadians in all provinces about their eating habits and use of nutritional supplements, as well as other health factors. This survey was last done in 2004. The average percentage of daily energy intake from each of these macronutrients has shifted over the past decade. When compared with 2004, Canadians consumed higher percentages of energy intake from protein and fats in 2015. By contrast, the percentage of energy intake from carbohydrates was lower.

Among children and teenagers, the percentage of daily energy intake from carbohydrates decreased between 2004 and 2015, from 54.6% to 53.4%. A similar small decline was observed among adults, from 49.1% in 2004 to 47.7% in 2015.

The proportion of Canadians’ energy intake from fat among children and teenagers did not change from 2004 to 2015 (30.6% to 30.9%). Among adults, it rose slightly from 31.3% in 2004 to 32.2% in 2015.

For children and teenagers, the percentage of daily energy intake from protein increased from 14.6% in 2004 to 15.6% in 2015, while for adults, it edged up from 16.5% to 17.0%.

This fact sheet is one of the first to examine the nutrition data collected by the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition. Collectively, these fact sheets show only a small part of the wealth of information that was collected. More in-depth analysis will be done by Statistics Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the research community. The Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition data offers researchers a myriad of opportunities to examine the dietary habits of Canadians.

Data

For additional information on the Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition, please refer to the web site at Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition.

For more information on the Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition, please contact Statistics Canada’s Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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