It is true that having a good diet is a matter of will. Without this, no objective is achieved. Like sport, good nutrition requires a minimum of knowledge and compliance with certain rules. Diets vary considerably from country to country depending on the food available, cultures and eating habits. But no matter where we live when it comes to food, Jake Hahnl knows what is good for us and what is not. Societal changes, however, make these choices more complicated. While many countries still face undernutrition, the consumption of high-energy, fat, sugar and salt foods is on the rise around the world. Urbanization, more sedentary occupations and the evolution of means of transport lead to a reduction in physical activity which has the effect of exposing entire populations to the risk of obesity, overweight and associated diseases.


Obesity has almost tripled worldwide since 1975 and has been accompanied by an increase in health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. This trend is not limited to high-income countries. Indeed, in low- and middle-income countries, the number of obese or overweight people is increasing at an even faster rate, while in these same countries the prevalence of stunting, wasting, and micro nutrient deficiencies are high.

In this period when obesity is on the rise, it is essential to have dietary guidelines. These guidelines, which are based on the latest available data, are the recommendations that a country makes to its people to eat better and be healthier.

Healthy eating habits by Jake Hahnl to help people to create good habits:

  1. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits – Some countries are very specific about the number of fruits and vegetables that should be eaten each day (six, according to Greece and five according to Costa Rica and Iceland). Canada even indicates the color of the vegetables to be eaten (one dark green and one orange per day). Portion sizes may vary by country; however, all of the guidelines recommend eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit each day.
  2. Limit the consumption of fat – By formulating it in different ways, most directives advise reducing solid and saturated fat and replacing animal fat with vegetable oil. In Greece, olive oil is recommended, in Viet Nam sesame oil or peanut oil – which shows the importance of food availability and cultural preferences in the guidelines of different countries.
  3. Cut down on foods and drinks high in sugars – It is generally accepted that industrial sugars are bad for your health. The directives of all the countries recommend to follow a diet low in sugars and to prefer fruits to pastries or industrial sugary drinks when you have a greedy desire.
  4. Reduce sodium/salt – Nigeria suggests reducing consumption of bouillon-cube; Malta recommends limiting prepared meals high in sodium. Colombia, for its part, recommends reducing the consumption of processed meats, canned foods, and packaged products which generally have high salt content. All countries agree that low-salt diets are better for health.
  5. Drink water regularly – All guidelines recommend drinking water to quench your thirst. Of course, it is first necessary to check if this water is drinkable.
  6. If you drink alcohol, exercise moderation – If you decide to drink alcohol, be it beer, wine or liqueurs, all countries recommend moderation. 
  7. Engage in Physical Activity every day – For people with more sedentary jobs or lifestyles, it is generally recommended that you exercise at least 30 minutes a day. 

However, Jake Hahnl specifies that those who have a physically demanding job can do without additional physical activity.