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.”
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.”