Nutrients, Vol. 11, Pages 58: Development of Criteria for Incorporating Occasionally Consumed Foods into a National Dietary Guideline: A Practical Approach Adapted to the Spanish Population (Nutrients)
Food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) offer recommendations that help population to meet nutrient requirements. Most European FBDGs include quantitative information regarding daily and weekly consumed foods, but for occasionally consumed foods, they only recommend limiting their intake, without giving specific advice on portions. As these foods are consumed by the general population as a part of the cultural and culinary tradition of each country, it is important to establish the maximum frequency and the portions that would be acceptable to be included in a healthy eating pattern. This study outlines the methodology to include these foods in a national (Spanish) FBDG. Firstly, commonly consumed foods were selected and grouped, and portions were defined according to their nutritional value, so different foods within a group could be exchanged. Then, macronutrient profiles of occasionally consumed foods were compared to the frequently consumed food groups to determine to what extent they had a similar nutritional content. Finally, some combinations of foods, with or without the inclusion of occasionally consumed groups, were calculated. A maximum number of servings per group was defined according to their energy and nutrient content. Occasionally consumed foods can be included in a healthy diet as long as they are consumed in the small quantities as shown in this study and as long as they replace equivalent portions of other foods of frequent consumption. This new tool shows how to include occasionally consumed foods in a diet while maintaining its overall nutritional quality.