8.0 General dietary advice
Whilst dietary advice can be confusing and sometimes appear to be conflicting, there are some simple principles that can be followed:
- Choose a diet that is mainly plant-based and contains a lot of vegetables, fruit, berries, whole grains and fish, limited amounts of red meat, salt, sugar and energy-dense foods.
- Maintain the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure.
- Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables, fruits and berries every day.
- Eat at least 4 servings of whole grain products each day.
- Eat 2-3 servings of fish a week.
- Use low-fat dairy products.
- Choose lean meats and low-fat meat and limit your intake of red meat and processed meat.
- Choose cooking oils or soft margarine.
- Try to drink plenty of water rather than sugary drinks.
- Limit your intake of added sugar.
- Limit your intake of salt.
- Supplements may be required to secure the nutrient intake of some population groups.
- It is recommended that everyone takes part in daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes.
- Eat regularly, 3-4 meals a day at 3-4 hourly intervals. This gives the most stable blood sugar level and avoids sharp spikes. If you wait longer, blood glucose levels may become too low and metabolic efficiency decreases. The hunger associated with skipping meals can also mean you are more likely to turn to foods such as chocolate, crisps, hamburgers and other fast foods.