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Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Turkey

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye'ye Özgü Beslenme Rehberi).

Publication year

Turkey published its food-based dietary guidelines in 2004. The English version was published in 2006. Turkey is currently revising its guidelines and will publish a new version at the end of 2014.

Process and stakeholders

The Ministry of Health developed the dietary guidelines in collaboration with the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Institute, the Turkish Physicians Union, the National Paediatric Association and universities.

The dietary guidelines are endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

Intended audience

The guidelines are directed at the general population.

Food guide

Turkey’s food guide is a four-leaf clover divided into four basic food groups: milk and dairy; meat, eggs, fish, legumes and seeds; vegetables and fruit; and bread and cereal.

The use of the clover is symbolic, because in Turkey it symbolizes happiness. In addition the leaves are heart-shaped, suggesting health and love. The bottom half of the circle is surrounded by the statement ‘adequate and balanced nutrition’. Above there are olive branches, which symbolize peace and make reference to olive oil, a very important component of the Mediterranean diet.

Selected messages

  • A diet containing adequate energy should be consumed to protect the appropriate combination of weight and body composition.
  • A diet containing all food groups should be consumed.
  • Increase food variety.
  • Increase the consumption of foods containing carbohydrates.
  • Decrease the consumption of saturated fat (butter, margarine, animal fat).
  • Avoid taking much salt and sugar.
  • Increase consumption of wholegrain cereals and leguminous seeds.
  • Five or more servings of fruit and vegetable should be consumed daily.
  • Instead of short diets, a lifelong diet including healthy nutritional rules should be applied.
  • Three basic meals with two or three snacks (at 2–3 hour intervals) should be consumed daily.
  • Do not skip meals and try not to be hungry for a long time.
  • Before, after and during exercise, increase your fluid intake.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Prepare and store your foods hygienically to avoid contamination.
  • During the first 6 months, only breast milk should be given to a baby and then other complementary foods should be started in adequate type and quantity.

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