Absence of symbolic and sustainable aspects in recommendations for healthy eating: a qualitative analysis of food-based dietary guidelines


  • Rafaela Karen FABRI Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • Suellen Secchi MARTINELLI Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • Maria Angela PERITO Universidade de Teramo
  • Andrea FANTINI Universidade de Teramo
  • Suzi Barletto CAVALLI Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina


Culture, Diet, food, and nutrition, Food guide, Food habits, Sustainable development


Was analyzed the contents of the main messages of food-based dietary guidelines to promote healthy eating, identifying nutritional, symbolic, and sustainable recommendations.

Food-based dietary guidelines from 90 different countries were analyzed. These guidelines were selected from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization database. For data extraction, all messages were exported to the Nvivo software and, after repeated readings, were grouped into predefined categories and corresponding dimensions based on the literature. The categories were created according to the mixed model, that is, they were created before data analysis was performed, but modified if necessary.
Was identified 1,982 messages grouped into the following dimensions: nutritional (n=73.9%); sustainable (3.2%); symbolic (3.3%), and others (19.7%). All food-based dietary guidelines addressed nutritional aspects, and the most frequent recommendation was regarding the consumption of fats, followed by the consumption of salt and vegetables and fruits, cited by at least 75 food-based dietary guidelines. Less than half (n=40) of the food-based dietary guidelines addressed sustainable or symbolic aspects of food and 13 of the food-based dietary guidelines addressed both aspects. However, these messages represented only 6.5% of the total messages in the documents.
The recommendations for healthy eating in the food-based dietary guidelines are incipient in terms of sustainable and symbolic issues. Recommendations for adopting healthy diets need to consider the completeness of the food and its various combinations, dietary patterns, and the factors associated with their consumption, as well as the individual’s relations with food, environment, and society.


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Como Citar

Karen FABRI, R., Secchi MARTINELLI, S., PERITO, M. A., FANTINI, A., & Barletto CAVALLI, S. (2022). Absence of symbolic and sustainable aspects in recommendations for healthy eating: a qualitative analysis of food-based dietary guidelines. Revista De Nutrição, 34, 1–15. Recuperado de https://seer.sis.puc-campinas.edu.br/nutricao/article/view/6020