Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/International Dietary Guidelines

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International Dietary GuidelinesEdit

Section 2.3: International Dietary Guidelines

Diets of the World

The Asian diet. The Asian diet focuses primarily on plant foods and grains. The main sources of grains in most Asian countries are noodles, millet, and rice. A plethora of different vegetables are incorporated into the Asian diet as well. Some of the most prevalent vegetables are kelp, water chestnuts, straw mushrooms, sugar peas, bamboo, baby corn, amaranth, chayote, bok choy, and mung bean sprouts. Fruits, which are often found alongside Asian dishes, include mandarin orange, melons, persimmon, lychee, kumquat, carambola, and guava. Red meat is much more sparingly used in most Asian countries. Instead, most protein is derived from plant-based foods such as soybeans (tofu and soy milk). Seafood such as squid, fish, and shellfish is also preferable. Poultry, duck eggs, pork, peanuts, and cashews also have a presence on the Asian plate. Interestingly, milk and milk products are often totally excluded from Asian diets (Rolfes & Whitney, 2015).

Asian food pyramid. An example of an international dietary guideline is the Asian food pyramid published by the International Conference on the Diets of Asia in San Francisco in 1995. The diets of the populations of Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Nepal, Myanmar, Mongolia, Malaysia, Laos, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Cambodia, and Bangladesh are included. The Asian diet has proven to produce less chronic diseases in its populations much like the diet of the Mediterranean. Asian diets closely coincide with religious practices and cultural traditions. Rice is one common and significant denominator of most Asian diets. There is a high consumption of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and vegetable oils. Much less dairy is integrated, but some countries use some. India, for example, has paneer, ghee, and lassi as a source of dairy. Fish and other seafood are common in island nations such as Japan (“Asian Diet Pyramid,” 2015).

The Mediterranean diet. The grains of the Mediterranean include Italian bread, bulgur, focaccia, polenta, couscous, rice, pastas, and pita pocket bread. Often accompanying these grains are vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and grape leaves. Fruits of the Mediterranean diet include the olive, figs, and grapes. Because most of the Mediterranean countries have access to the ocean, seafood is common. Gyros, lamb, pork, chicken, beef, sausage, lentils, and fava beans also make it to the plate in the Mediterranean. Diary is plentiful and diverse in this region’s diet. These include yogurt, goat cheese, ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, and feta (Rolfes & Whitney, 2015).

The Mexican diet. Taco shells, rice, and tortillas (corn and flour) are just a few of the grains often present in the Mexican diet. Chilies, tomatoes, cassava, cactus, yams, jicama, corn, chayote, and salsa are vegetables often seen in Mexican dishes. A multitude of fruits like oranges, avocadoes, papaya, mango, guava, plantain, and bananas are incorporated as well. Eggs, chorizo, beef, chicken, fish, and refried beans provide the necessary protein. Lastly, dairy includes various cheeses and custards (Rolfes & Whitney, 2015).

WHO Involvement in International Diets WHO has set a goal to lessen chronic diseases around the world by teaching to populations about the importance of healthy eating and leading an active lifestyle. WHO’s general recommendations to all countries includes many points regarding what makes a healthy diet. Firstly, people should achieve a healthy weight and energy balance. Energy intake from shift fats and total fats should be limited. Unsaturated fats should be more regularly consumed than saturated fats. Trans-fatty acids should be eliminated according to the World Health Organization. They recommend increasing intake of whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. WHO has stated that the intake of free sugars should also be limited. Additionally, salt (sodium) should be iodized (WHO, 2015).


Asian Diet Pyramid, (2015). Retrieved from

Rolfes and Whitney. (2015) Understanding Nutrition. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning. (Rolfes & Whitney, 2015)

World Health Organization. Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity ad Health, (2015). Retrieved from

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