One thing is clear: when questioning a representative panel of the French population, 72% of those questioned think they respect a balanced diet.

However, when we compare their nutritional intake to the ANC (Recommended Dietary Intake), it appears that only 3% of them really follow the recommendations.

The rules of a good diet

Overall, the ideal day is as follows:

  • breakfast : a dairy product (milk, yogurt, etc.), a cereal product (bread, cereals, biscuits, etc.), a drink and possibly a piece of fruit.
  • lunch : starter of raw vegetables, main course with meat or fish or eggs, accompanied by vegetables and/or starchy foods (alternating with dinner), bread, a dairy product (cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.), a fruit .
  • snack : dairy product, cereal product, drink, fruit.
  • dinner : a main course with meat or fish accompanied by vegetables and/or starches (alternating with lunch), bread, a dairy product, a fruit.

These recommendations are obviously theoretical and are daily confronted with social, economic, professional and family constraints. So many obstacles to their application. The proof is: the existence of many nutritional deficiencies and a certain imbalance between the various nutrients.

Eat balanced!

Here are some basics of balanced nutrition:

  • eat at least 3 meals a day,
  • avoid snacks that are often too fatty and/or sweet and favor snacks based on fruit, dairy products or bread,
  • provide a source of calcium with each meal,
  • raw and cooked fruits and vegetables daily,
  • fish at least twice a week,
  • favor whole grains,
  • promote fats of plant origin: rapeseed, grapeseed, olive, walnut oil,
  • drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day.

A gap between ideal and practice

In recent decades, the upheaval in lifestyles has affected housing, which has become more urban, work, lifestyles, transport and also food. The time devoted to meals has decreased, the foods consumed are less varied.

Moreover, if the French establish the link between food and health, the nutritional translation, which is proposed by scientists and the public authorities, in particular within the framework of the National Health Nutrition Program, seems to them very often beyond the reach of their eating habits.

Declining nutrient intake in the diet

According to a report by the Haut Comite de la Sante Publique (Rapport du Haut Comite de la Sante Publique, For a public health nutritional policy in France ), the variety of food has declined, even as access to a greater Product diversity has been fostered by improving socio-economic conditions. The multi-daily recommended consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread, cereal products and dairy products is not respected. The impact of the first measures taken within the framework of the National Nutrition and Health Plan does not yet seem to be quantifiable on this point.

Changing consumption habits have caused a concomitant change in nutritional intake. It can be noted that:

overall energy intake has decreased (related to the regression of physical activity): halving of bread consumption in 50 years, drop in potato consumption of 118 kg/year/inhabitant in 1975 to 64.5 kg/year/inhabitant in 1995.

the distribution of the different macro-nutrients (foods needed by the body in large quantities: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins) in the coverage of energy needs has changed : less carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes) and more simple sugars (sodas, confectionery), more animal proteins and less vegetable proteins, more lipids.

the density of micro-nutrients (food necessary for the body in small relative quantities: vitamins, mineral salts) of the diet has been reduced .

less dietary fiber is provided by fruits and vegetables.

Furthermore, certain groups of particular populations, which are in specific physiological conditions or which have a disturbed metabolism, have different nutritional needs, requiring specific intakes of nutrients and other food constituents.

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