What do scientists from Canada and Great Britain recommend eating? Principles of a healthy diet

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What do the World Health Organization and official bodies of different countries recommend eating? Is it possible to formulate universal principles of a healthy diet? What rules to use when you cook, choose products in a store, make an order in a restaurant?

Read more: 10 FOOD MYTHS

What science says. And official bodies of different countries

In the public domain there are nutrition recommendations from more than a hundred countries. We will not analyze everything – they are very similar. So let’s just take a few examples.


Let’s start with the WHO recommendations. Please note: there are no specific products here. Of course, avocados, fish and nuts are mentioned, but as examples of recommended fats. The emphasis is on diversity. What about salt: in different countries, consumption varies from 0.5 grams to 25 grams per day (the latter is in Japan).

Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and whole grains

At least 400 grams of different vegetables and fruits every day

Less than 5 grams of salt per day

Less than 10% of energy intake (calories in) as added sugar, preferably up to 5%

Unsaturated fats found in fish, avocados, and nuts, as well as sunflower, soy, canola, and olive oils. Saturated fats and trans fats of all kinds should be avoided, the latter as much as possible (less than 1% of the calorie intake)


The states may not be the benchmark in terms of life expectancy and excess weight, but in terms of science, everything is in order here. Look: the emphasis is also on diversity, the maximum of different food groups, limiting added sugar and salt.

Focus on variety, nutrition and quantity. Maximum product groups

Restricting calories from free sugar and saturated fat

Less than 2.3 grams of salt per day

Consider cultural characteristics and personal preferences so that a healthy and varied diet is comfortable for a person

Variety of vegetables

Fruits, primarily whole

Grains, at least half of which are whole

Low fat dairy products

Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds, soy


We look: the recommendations are similar to the previous ones. Fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats. What’s interesting: The drink of choice is water (as opposed to sugary sodas and juices). Nutritious foods can be frozen: vegetables are usually picked at a good time, when they are at their peak and when they are rich in vitamins and keep well. Attention is also drawn to culture and traditions: it is not necessary to eat avocados and goji berries somewhere in a village in Bashkiria.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein sources, including plant-based ones

Protein sources: legumes, nuts and seeds, tofu, soy milk, fish, seafood, eggs, poultry, lean red meat including game, skim milk, yogurt, cheeses and kefir

Foods high in unsaturated fats should replace those high in saturated fats

Preferred drink is water

Nutritious foods can be frozen, chilled, canned or dried

Nutritious foods may reflect cultural preferences and traditions

Eating with other people can bring joy and strengthen bonds between generations and cultures

Great Britain

The UK, like many other countries, presents its recommendations in the form of a plate. Look what is here: clean water, lots of fruits and vegetables. On the smaller segment, we see fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, including canned foods. Dairy products and cheese make up a small fraction of this pie. There are cereals: the emphasis is on whole grains, such as whole grain pasta. What needs to be minimized is in a separate plate: for example, chips and sweets.

What common?

The key to a healthy diet is variety. Diet Myths author Tim Spector cites an interesting fact: 15,000 years ago, our ancestors regularly consumed (and digested) about 150 different ingredients every week. Today, most people consume fewer than 20 individual foods. A significant proportion of products in the supermarket generally consists of 4 ingredients. Usually it is white flour, sugar, corn, soy. That’s why it’s so important to try new things and rotate foods. You can consciously add some new ingredient to your menu every week (or every 2 weeks).

Almost all healthy diets are based on not overeating and favoring plant-based foods. Nutrition expert Michael Pollan (“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”), well-known nutritionist Marion Nestle (eat less, move more, eat more fruits and vegetables, less fast food) speaks about this.

It is equally important to move more: centenarians do not participate in marathons, but walk a lot, walk, swim.

Implementing in practice

Complexity puts people in a stupor. It has been proven that the complexity of the tax code is the only predictor of whether citizens will pay the tax or shirk. Therefore, the recommendations that we have analyzed are so good.

Simple Rules

Here are a few more simple nutritional rules:

  • Chinese wisdom: it is better to eat something that stands on one leg than something that has two, and even more so than something that has four
  • Consider meat (if you eat it at all) as a tasty addition to food, a “spice”, a side dish, and not a main dish
  • Eat colorful vegetables and fruits
  • Eat natural sweets (fruits, berries)
  • If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you are not hungry.

Ask yourself the question: “Have I satisfied my hunger?”, do not wait for full saturation

“The longer the label, the shorter the life”

Avoid foods that claim to be healthy

Avoid foods with more than 5 ingredients

Choose those products that can go bad (there are exceptions: honey is stored for a very long time)

Buy at the supermarket as little as possible

Eat food made by people, not corporations

Marion Nestle: “Don’t buy products for children advertised by cartoon characters”

Train yourself to read labels. Choose foods that your great-grandmother would recognize as food. If your ancestors had heard the composition of most products in the supermarket, they would not have understood what they were talking about.


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