The Dutch have trouble following a healthy diet, according to research by the RIVM. Less than 10 percent eat the recommended amount of vegetables, legumes, potatoes, grain products and spreads and cooking fats.
Experts are concerned that health awareness does not appear to be there among many Dutch people. Your environment plays a major role in this, says nutrition professor Martijn Katan. “In the supermarket there are many products at the front that are not healthy.”
“Not everything that tastes good fits into the Wheel of Five”, says Marianne Geleijnse, professor of nutrition and cardiovascular disease at Wageningen University. But why do we often choose the unhealthy? Geleijnse cites, among other things, the social environment, offers, convenience and taste as motives. “It is also not the case that the healthy products immediately catch the eye in the supermarket. You have to know a little about them and sometimes look for them in a targeted manner.”
The RIVM study shows that two out of three Dutch people eat more meat than recommended. Is that worrisome? “Red and processed meat, especially beef and pork, increases the risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease,” says Geleijnse.
‘White’ meat such as chicken and poultry are no problem. According to the professor, we don’t need that much meat either. “In principle we can do without it, but then you have to get the proteins from other foods, such as legumes and grains.”
If you still want to eat a piece of meat, take about 50 grams two or three times a week, according to Katan.
He sees another big drawback of meat. “Meat production has an enormous impact on the climate and is a major cause of the increased greenhouse effect. Not everyone is aware of that yet.”
Finally, there is another pitfall in our pursuit of a healthy life: soft drinks and sweet snacks. “You really don’t need that for good health,” says Geleijnse. “Then choose a piece of fruit and an extra cup of cottage cheese.”
According to Katan, the body does not sense how many calories we take in from soft drinks. He therefore argues for an extra measure to slow down the sale of soft drinks.
“All scientists also agree that there should be additional taxation on sugary drinks, such as soft drinks and juices,” says Katan. “We will have to wait for the elections, because that is again a political issue.”