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Food Based Dietary Guidelines Task Force

2015 – 2019

Dietary guidelines provide advice on foods, food groups, and dietary patterns to promote health, prevent chronic disease and ensure the public have a diet that provides the nutrients they require for health. Food based dietary guidelines establish a basis for public food and nutrition, health and agricultural policies and nutrition education programmes to encourage healthy eating habits and lifestyles.

Over the 4 years period of this Task Force ( 2015 – 2019) FENS had a series of activities around “food-based dietary guidelines” (FBDG), led by a FENS Task Force on FBDG. FENS hosted workshops on the topic in Brussels in 2017, Copenhagen in 2018 [1] and Bonn in 2019 [2].

Up till now, FBDG have been derived by using systematic reviews on diet-health relationships and translating dietary reference values for nutrient intake into foods. This approach does not consider many of the implications that dietary recommendations have on society, the economy and environment. Challenges including climate change and the burden of diet-related diseases mean that evidence-based findings from different dimensions need to be integrated into FBDG. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has compiled a list of current Food Based Dietary Guidelines from over 100 of its member countries. More information and research about these guidelines can be found here


 1. Tetens I, Birt CA, Brink E, Bodenbach S, Bugel S, De Henauw S, Grønlund T, Julia C, Konde ÅB, Kromhout D, Lehmann U, Dos Santos Q, Sokolovic M, Storcksdieck Genannt Bonsmann S, van Rossum C, Boeing H (2020) Food-Based Dietary Guidelines – development of a conceptual framework for future Food-Based Dietary Guidelines in Europe: report of a Federation of European Nutrition Societies Task-Force Workshop in Copenhagen, 12-13 March 2018. Brit J Nutr 124, 1338-1344.  

2. Schäfer AC, Schmidt A, Bechthold A, Boeing H, Watzl B, Darmon N, Devleesschauwer B, Heckelei T, Pires SM, Nadaud P, van Dooren C, Vieux F (2021) Integration of various dimensions in food-based dietary guidelines via mathematical approaches: report of a DGE/FENS Workshop in Bonn, Germany, 23-24 September 2019. Brit J Nutr, in press.