Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Sweden

Official name

Find your way to eat greener, not too much and be active! (Hitta ditt sätt att äta grönare, lagom mycket och röra på dig)

Publication year

The Swedish National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) published the revised version of the national dietary guidelines in 2015.

Products

Target audience

Website (Swedish and English)

General population

Brochure (Swedish and English)

General population

Text in “easy to read” Swedish

General population with Swedish as second language or reading difficulties

Short films about vegetables, fish and whole grain (Swedish)

General population

Risk management report (Swedish and English)

Academic community

Digital quiz – Matvanekollen (Swedish)

General population

Tutorial on the digital quiz

Health workers

Short animation for waiting room

Health centers

Web training for health professionals

Health workers

Guidelines for public meals

Public meal providers

Development process

The Swedish dietary guidelines are aimed at healthy adults, adolescents and children 2 years and over and can be adjusted to different food cultures. Recommendations for specific population groups (pregnant and lactating women, infants and children under 2 years of age) and vegetarians are provided separately.

The FBDGs are based on the Nordic Nutritional Recommendations (NNR 2012), knowledge of the population's dietary habits and scientific knowledge of the environmental impact of various food groups.

The development of the guidelines was carried out in 2014-2015 in collaboration with different stakeholders through a reference group with representatives from other governmental bodies, such as the Public Health Agency and the Swedish Board of Agriculture and research centres.

Open hearings with experts in the fields of public health and nutrition, the food industry, consumer associations and patient organizations, as well as consultations with the general public were conducted. The guidelines were tested with consumers to ensure that they are easily understood in terms of the content of the messages, the language and choice of images.

A technical report has been published that outlines the available evidence that forms the basis for each of the recommendations.

Implementation

The official body responsible for the development and implementation of the FBDGs in Sweden is the National Food Agency, which has a close collaboration with the Social Board of Health and Welfare.

A training for health care professionals has been developed and launched in collaboration with the Social Board of Health and Welfare. The National Food Agency has also developed special information on their website aimed at healthcare professionals. Newsletters addressed to the profession is another way used to promote the FBDGs as well as a national network for good eating habits with representatives from the regions and other authorities.

Several activities have been undertaken to implement the FBDGs and they are used as a basis for different guidelines for public meals, such as preschool, school, hospitals and elderly care.

There is no official implementation plan. 

Evaluation

There is no official monitoring and evaluation plan for the FBDGs. We usually evaluate guidelines when it is time for a new revision. We also monitor the number of visitors on our website and these pages are among the most visited on our website.

Sustainability

The FBDGs provide guidance on how to eat healthily and in an environmentally friendly manner. The main aim is to encourage consumers to eat less meat and meat products and more plant-foods including whole grains, vegetables and fruit, as well as healthy oils and some fish to decrease the risk of common chronic diseases in Sweden, especially cardiovascular disease, overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

In the risk management report both health and environmental aspects are described. 

Food guide

Sweden uses a simple and clear graph with three key messages in a traffic light colours. Green: eat more vegetables, fruit, berries, fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds, exercise. Yellow: switch to whole grains, healthy fats and low-fat dairy products. Red: eat less red and processed meat, salt, sugar and alcohol.

The model of a plate is used to promote different food groups and to enable consumers to adopt healthy food choices. The plate is used in conjunction with the Keyhole symbol which is a positive label that identifies healthy food products within each food category. Foods labelled with the symbol contain less fat, sugars and salt and more dietary fibre than food products of the same type not carrying the symbol. A simple and positive logo can be a quick and effective tool in a busy purchase situation and appeal to consumer groups. It also stimulates manufacturers to move product innovation, development and reformulation in a healthier direction.

Recommendations 

  • More vegetables and fruit - Eat lots of fruit, vegetables and berries! Ideally, choose high fibre vegs such as root vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beans and onions.
  • More seafood - Eat fish and shellfish two to three times a week. Vary your intake of fatty and low-fat varieties, and choose ecolabelled seafood.
  • More exercise - Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day! Take brisk walks, for example, and reduce the amount of time you sit still by taking brief, active breaks.
  • Switch to wholemeal - Choose wholegrain varieties when you eat pasta, bread, grain and rice.
  • Switch to healthier fat - Choose healthy oils when cooking, such as rapeseed oil or liquid fats made from rapeseed oil, and healthy sandwich spreads. Look for the Keyhole symbol.
  • Switch to low-fat dairy products - Choose low-fat, unsweetened products enriched with vitamin D.
  • Less red and processed meat - Eat less red and processed meat, no more than 500 grams a week. Only a small amount of this should be processed meat.
  • Less salt - Choose food with less salt. Use less salt when you cook, but choose salt with iodine when you do use it.
  • Less sugar - Hold back on the sweets, pastries, ice creams and other products containing lots of sugar. Cut back on sweet drinks in particular.
  • Maintain a balance - Try to maintain energy balance by eating just the right amount.
  • The Keyhole - healthy choices made easy - Check for the Keyhole symbol. This is a National Food Agency symbol which can help you to find food containing less sugar and salt, more wholegrain and fibre and healthier or less fat.

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