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Finns eat too much red meat, study says

People in Finland need to change their dietary habits, according to the country's health institute.

Raaka, kypsentämätön pihvi naisen kämmenellä.
Image: Fotosearch

Adults in Finland eat too much meat and not enough vegetables. According to a fresh report from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), men in Finland should eat significantly less meat, and increase their daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Nearly 80 percent of men exceeded the weekly recommendation of 500 grams of meats and processed meat (like sausages and preserved meat products) while 26 percent of women consume too much animal protein - particularly red meat.

THL's research specialist Niina Kaartinen said people who want to eat healthier can choose to put fish, poultry or even legumes on their plates rather than red meat.

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Finnish consumers eat more red and processed meat than recommended
Image: Yle

Additionally, a large proportion of both men and women do not appear to be getting enough vegetables into their diets.

According to nutritional guidelines, people should eat at least 500 grams of vegetables, fruit and berries every day. However, only 22 percent of women eat more than the recommended amounts and just 14 percent of men do the same.

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Only a few eat enough vegetables, fruits and berries
Image: Yle

Nearly everyone eats too much fat and salt

The vast majority of adults - some 95 percent - eat too much saturated fat, which is found in copious amounts in delicacies like butter, cheese and sausage.

The report said that when cooking, it is best to choose vegetable-based fats like olive, canola or rapeseed oils. Also, vegetable-based spreads are healthier alternatives to butter on things like sandwiches, according to THL.

People in Finland also eat far too much salt. Dietary guidelines recommend that a person consumes a maximum of one teaspoon of table salt per day.

But 90 percent of adults in Finland eat more than that.

There was some good news in the report, however. Adults in Finland do appear to be getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in their diets.

THL's FinRavinto study was carried out in 2017 in 50 communities across Finland, and examined the dietary habits of around 3,100 people aged between 18-74.

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