The Spanish recommendations for healthy and balanced eating were based on the Mediterranean Diet, a dietary prudent pattern, with a plant-base core, that has substantial scientific evidence of its health benefits. It is characterised by advocating consuming an abundance of fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals and nuts, the use of olive oil, the frequent consumption of fish, the moderate consumption of dairy products and the low consumption of red meat and simple sugars. The Spanish partners developed their recommendations using the Mediterranean dietary pattern as a framework.
General nutritional recommendations were formed to educate employees about their needs in terms of the various nutrients.
- Fat consumption: These days food contains too much fat. Reducing the intake of fat in the diet, mainly saturated fats from animal origin (fatty meats, cold meats, cream and butter), will help in improving health without putting on weight. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
- Food rich in fibre: Fibre is found in foods of plant origin and mostly in vegetables, cereals, fruit and dried fruit. Consuming fibre-rich food increases intestinal strength, improves the glucose levels in the blood and helps cholesterol reduction to prevent diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. In addition they have a filling effect and help with weight control. It is advisable to consume about 25 grams of nourishing fibre on a daily basis by the varied consumption of fruit, vegetables and cereals.
- Carbohydrate consumption: Carbohydrates are the building blocks of food. Cereals are carbohydrate-rich foods (bread, rice and pastas), as are potatoes and vegetables. They provide a good source of protein if combined with vegetables. They give a filling sensation and are reasonably priced allowing one to eat better cheaply.
- Hydration: We should drink 1.2 to 2 litres of water on a daily basis in order to replace lost fluids from our body and to maintain a suitable state of hydration. One should avoid the consumption of sugary drinks and juices with added sugar as a substitute for water because the excessive consumption of these sugars increases the number of calories therefore contributing to weight gain.