Most Dutch people do not comply with the Guidelines for a healthy diet

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Most Dutch people do not comply with the Guidelines for a healthy diet

Whether it concerns vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, tea, nuts, fish or alcohol: every recommendation from the Health Council is followed by only 10 to 50 percent of adults. This is evident from “The diet of the Dutch”, the English-language report in which the RIVM published the results of the Food Consumption Survey 2019-2021. In general, women, people over 65 and people with a higher level of education eat more according to the Guidelines for a healthy diet than men, young adults and people with a lower level of education.

Only guidelines followed: nuts, tea, fruits and vegetables

The only guideline followed is that for nuts. On average, adults eat 5 grams of unsalted nuts and seeds per day. Only 1 in 10 reaches the 15 gram recommendation. The recommendation to drink 3 cups of black, green or white tea daily is also poorly followed: only 22 percent of adults achieve this. On average, women drink more than 2 cups of tea per day and men drink more than 1 cup. Few adults also meet the fruit recommendation (200 grams per day): only 1 in 5. On average, adults eat 130 grams of fruit per day. Adults eat more vegetables than fruit: the average vegetable consumption is 165 grams per day. More than 1 in 4 adults meets the Health Council’s recommendation for at least 200 grams of vegetables per day.

Best guidelines followed: whole grain, fish and alcohol

Half of adults are recommended to eat at least 90 grams of whole grain products per day. On average, adults eat 100 grams of whole wheat products and brown bread. Almost half of adults eat fish at least once a week. More than a third of the fish consumed was oily fish. The alcohol guideline (don’t drink or drink more than 1 glass per day) is followed by almost half of adults. More than a quarter of Dutch adults are teetotal and 20 percent drink no more than 1 glass of alcohol per day.

Dietary supplements

More than half of Dutch people use nutritional supplements, usually multivitamins with minerals, or vitamin D or vitamin C. The report also looked at how well the Health Council’s advice on vitamin D supplementation is followed. Not good because only 1 in 3 50+ women uses vitamin D supplements and for 70+ men this is 1 in 4. Even in young children, the advice for vitamin D supplementation is not always followed: only 2 in 3 young children receive vitamin D supplements.

More striking figures

The report contains some striking figures:

  • 9 percent of elderly people aged 65-79 living at home are malnourished
  • 5 percent of the population never eats breakfast or eats it less than once a week
  • 22 percent do not add salt during the preparation and consumption of a meal
  • 17 percent follow a diet (such as cow’s milk-free, lactose-restricted or energy-restricted)
  • 6 percent do not eat meat
  • 42 percent of protein intake is vegetable
  • Legumes are eaten on average once every 2 weeks

What does the Netherlands eat?

The global results of this most recent Food Consumption Survey among approximately 3,500 adults and children were already released earlier this year on the website According to the RIVM, the results on how many nutrients people consume will appear before the end of 2023.

Source: RIVM

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