Eat more plant-based

meerdere groenten in een bak op tafel

A major new study from ACLM (American College of Lifestyle Medicine) has found strong agreement on the benefit of consuming minimally processed plant-based foods to treat and prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. prevent. The first study of its kind, published in advances in Nutrition, entitled: ‘Commonalities between diet recommendations from 2010-2021 clinical practice guidelines: A meta-epidemiological study of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’ compared diet and nutrition recommendations from 78 clinical practice guidelines , published by government, medical associations and health stakeholder groups. It turned out that almost 75% of guidelines recommend consuming more vegetables or significantly increasing them. 69% recommend the same for fruit and 58% for whole grains. In addition, 62% of guidelines recommended reducing or limiting alcohol, and 56% reducing salt or sodium.

This close coordination is good news for clinicians and lifestyle advisors and coaches who may still hesitate to make these nutritional and lifestyle recommendations for the treatment and/or guidance of chronically ill people in their practices. Understanding that there is consistent agreement instead of discussion should increase confidence that healthcare, sports and lifestyle professionals will actually pass on these recommendations, based on consistent science, about unrefined plant-based nutrition to their patients and clients.

With 60% of the population suffering from at least one chronic disease and 40% suffering from two or more, coupled with the alarming prevalence of overweight and obesity, there is an urgent need for clinicians, trainers and coaches to acquire and maintain this knowledge to confidently prescribe diet and lifestyle changes for their patients and clients.


Less meat

Unprocessed meat is included in the Wheel of Five and fits into a healthy diet. But don’t eat more than 500 grams per week. There is no need to eat meat; you can easily replace meat. Make sure you get enough vitamin B12, vitamin B1, iron and protein.

Pay attention to red and processed meat

It is better not to eat too much processed and red meat. If you eat a lot of these types of meat, you are more at risk of diseases such as (colon) cancer, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Processed meat is meat that has been treated to affect its taste or shelf life; by smoking, salting, drying and/or adding preservatives. We recommend eating a maximum of 300 grams of red meat per week.

Less dairy

Milk and milk products such as yogurt and cheese fit into a healthy diet. But cheese, for example, often contains a lot of salt and (saturated) fat and has a high environmental impact. You can therefore limit the number of servings to the recommended daily amount.


Tips for eating more plant-based and less animal-based foods:

  1. Replace meat with legumes (including beans, chickpeas, lentils) and nuts. Egg is also a good meat substitute, although it is not plant-based. Legumes, nuts and eggs have a much lower environmental impact than meat.
  2. Replace meats on bread with, for example, banana, strawberry, hummus, cucumber, pea spread, nut spread or peanut butter (without salt), etc.
  3. Eat no more than 40 grams of cheese per day. That corresponds to fillings for 2 slices of bread, pre-cut slices are usually 30 grams.
  4. Eat no more than 2-3 eggs per week. Vegetarians can eat 3-4 eggs per week.
  5. Do not exceed your recommended portions of milk, yoghurt or cottage cheese (approx. 300-450 ml). If necessary, replace milk with soy drink with added calcium and vitamin B12.
  6. Do not put fish on the menu more than once a week and take a small piece (100 grams). Choose an oily type of fish that has been sustainably caught (recognizable by the ASC and MSC quality marks).
  7. Make a weekly schedule and write down what you eat on which day. It then becomes more concrete and easier to eat more plant-based foods. You can also put up notes that remind you of your intention, for example: “I will eat vegetarian on Saturday and Monday”.
  8. If you want to eat meat: limit your intake to 500 grams of meat per week, of which a maximum of 300 grams of red meat (beef, pork, sheep, goat).
    1. Choose lean meat:
      1. white meat (poultry) such as chicken breast or turkey breast;
      2. or lean red meat such as steak, lean beef steaks, steak, pork tenderloin, fillet chops, lean pork steaks, pork fillet steaks, ham steak or lean lamb.
    2. Limit all processed meats such as:
      1. hamburgers, hot dogs, cutlets, sausage, marinated meat;
      2. and also meats such as ham, sausage and pâté.

Read the full study here:


Advice from the Nutrition Center: