Belgium’s Food Pyramid

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This is why Belgium’s food pyramid puts processed meat in the same category as candy and pizza

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‘We want to make it clear that we don’t need these products. We don’t forbid them, but they should be rather an exception than rule’

BaconBelgium’s new food pyramid puts processed meats – including bacon and deli meats – in the same category as candy and pizza. Getty Images

At the very top of the inverted pyramid is the recommendation to drink plenty of water, followed by plant-based foods: fresh vegetables and fruit; legumes; tofu; grain products (including noodles, rice and bread); and nuts. “These should form the basis of our meals,” the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living reportedly said in a statement, “with the addition of smaller amounts of food of animal origin, like fish, dairy products or meat.”

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Belgium’s new food pyramid relegates processed meat to a bubble of foods that should be consumed “as little as possible,” such as candy and pizza. Flemish Institute for Healthy Living

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the classification of red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” based on the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). ”These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat,” Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of IARC, said at the time.

As Quartz reports, the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living’s stance on processed meat is significant due to the international meat industry’s response to the IARC recommendations. “We want to make it clear that we don’t need these products,” Loes Neven of the institute told Flanders Today. “We don’t forbid them, but they should be rather an exception than rule.”

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