On average, the sugar and salt intakes of the Dutch population have gone down, while its fibre intake has gone up. This is apparent from the latest Dutch National Food Consumption Survey (Voedselconsumptiepeiling, VCP) figures. Although these are positive developments, people’s intakes of some other nutrients continue to be too high or too low.

The VCP shows what, where and when the Dutch population eats and drinks and compares this to the guidelines set by the Health Council of the Netherlands. RIVM mapped this out on the basis of the diets of around 3,500 children and adults in the period 2019–2021. It then compared the outcomes with those from the earlier surveys carried out in 2007–2010 and 2012–2016. The current survey was partially carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures taken during this period may have affected diets and lifestyles.

Figures correspond to earlier outcomes

The new figures correspond to the outcomes of the 2019–2021 survey on food products, which were published in early 2023. These showed that the Dutch population’s intake of vegetable products – such as fruit, vegetables, unsalted nuts and legumes – had increased. At the same time, its intake of sugary drinks had decreased. In addition to changing eating and drinking patterns, changes in the composition of products may have affected the outcomes as well. For example, the National Approach to Product Improvement (Nationale Aanpak Productverbetering, NAPV) has led to less salt being added. The survey also showed a decrease in alcohol consumption, particularly among men. This corresponds to the decrease shown by the Health Survey.

Health effects

Combined with a lower sugar intake, a higher fibre intake can help prevent overweight and chronic disease. A lower salt intake helps keep your blood pressure under control. Consequently, the noted developments have considerable positive health effects.

Vitamin D intake of elderly people

For people in all age categories, the intake of vitamin D has increased compared to the previous survey (2012–2016). However, vitamin D intake is still too low for elderly people aged 70–79. It is important that people in this age category stick more closely to the vitamin D supplement advice. A sufficient intake of both vitamin D and calcium reduces the risk of bone fractures.

Vitamins and minerals

Some population groups have low intakes of particular types of vitamins and minerals, including the vitamins A, B2, B6, C and folate and the minerals calcium, iron and potassium. However, this is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern. Follow-up studies, such as nutritional status studies, are recommended to find out more about this. The same is true for the high intakes of some other vitamins and/or minerals.

RIVM carries out the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The latest figures can be found on the website wateetnederland.nl (in Dutch).