Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - France

Official name

The French National Nutrition and Health Program’s dietary guidelines (Recommandations alimentaires du Programme national nutrition santé)

Publication year

In France, the recommendations on diet and physical activity are elaborated and disseminated by the public health authorities since the implementation of the first National Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS) in 2001. The first official FBDGs were published in 2002 for adults, in 2004 for children, in 2006  for the elderly, and in 2008 for pregnant women. The revised version of the guidelines for adults was published in 2019. The new guidelines for children from birth to 17 years old and adolescents will be published in 2021. Other revised guidelines for elderly and pregnant women will be published in 2022.

Products, resources and target audiences

Products

Target audience

Scientific reports from French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES)

Policy makers

Scientific reports from the High Council of public health

Policy makers

Consumer education materials by Santé publique France

General population, health workers, education workers, social workers

Development process

The French FBDGs for adults have been based on reports from the French agency ANSES in 2016 and the High Council of public health (HCSP) in 2017. The guidelines were developed by the French public health agency (Santé Publique France) with a multidisciplinary committee combining expertise in epidemiology, health prevention and promotion, information and communication, literacy as well as professionals in contact with the public, notably populations with low socioeconomic status. The recommendations were subjected to a consultation process with a variety of stakeholders and actors. 

Implementation

The implementation of the FBDGs is undertaken by the French public health agency. The guidelines are disseminated in the general population through communication campaigns on TV and internet (e.g. social media) and through health facilities. Some posters and brochures are notably used by health workers, education workers and social workers to disseminate the guidelines. 

Evaluation

The adequacy of food consumption of the French population against the FBDGs is assessed by large scientific studies conducted among representative samples of the population, such as the Esteban study from Santé publique France. Knowledge and awareness of the FBDGs are assessed by the INCA study (nutritional study) from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) and by Health Barometers from Santé Publique France. New waves of surveys will be conducted in the coming years.

Sustainability

The latest recommendations are including for the first time the issue of environmental sustainability, by encouraging the consumption for locally produced foods, seasonal foods and, if possible, organic foods and by encouraging the decrease of meat consumption.

Food guide

Frances has no established food guide. 

Messages

The guide for the general public provides recommendations based on the objectives of the PNNS.

The guide recommends increasing:

  • the consumption of fruits and vegetables, regardless of their forms (raw, cooked, natural, prepared, fresh, frozen or canned), to achieve at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and a small handful of unsalted nuts per day
  • the consumption of pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc), at least twice a week 
  • meals prepared at home
  • physical activity to achieve at least the equivalent of 30 minutes of fast walking per day (take the stairs, running errands on foot, etc).

The guide recommends moving towards:

  • organic foods, seasonal and locally produced foods
  • starchy foods (pasta, bread, rice, semolina, potatoes), which can be eaten every day, by favouring complete starchy foods
  • fish, twice a week including one oily fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon) 
  • rapeseed, walnut and olive oils (the added fats - oil, butter and margarine - can be consumed every day in small quantities)
  • dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese and cottage cheese), 2 per day for adults.

 The guide recommends limiting:

  • the consumption of meats, while favouring poultry and limiting other meats (pork, beef, veal, mutton, lamb, offal) to 500 g per week
  • the consumption of processed meat, to 150 g per week
  • the consumption of salty products and salt (to 5 g per day for an adult)
  • the consumption of sweetened beverages, fatty, sweet, salty and ultra-processed foods
  • the consumption of products with a Nutri-Score “D” or “E” 
  • the consumption of alcohol, with a maximum of two glasses per day and not every day
  • time spent sitting: take the time to walk a little every 2 hours. Pay attention to the time spent on screens.

 

 

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