Can it be healthy for you to eat fat?

Whole Food - Principles

  1. Nutrition tips
  2. Wholesome nutrition
  3. Principles

A healthy, wholesome diet offers an abundance of possibilities to turn everything that the fields and gardens produce into delicious and healthy dishes. It is often more versatile and varied than the so-called "home-style cuisine".

The following principles must be observed:

A wholesome, healthy diet ...

  • takes into account the individual energy and fluid requirements.
  • is varied, versatile and balanced, so that the supply of all necessary substances is guaranteed.
  • contains all vital (essential and indispensable) nutrients in sufficient quantities and thus covers the nutritional requirements.
  • uses high quality food, preferably in fresh or frozen form.
  • consists largely of plant-based foods such as B. bread, cereal dishes, potatoes, legumes, vegetables and fruits.
  • can be practiced with meat or as a vegetarian diet - without meat (then they are called "ovo-lacto-vegetabil" = with eggs and dairy products).
  • does not make any rules or prohibitions, but rather gives recommendations to prefer certain products and avoid others.

The 10 rules of the DGE

The following recommendations are based on the 10 rules for a wholesome diet of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). The guidelines have been published by the DGE since 1956. They are based on current scientific knowledge and were last revised in 2013 and 2017. They show how a wholesome diet can be put into practice.

1. Enjoy the variety of foods

No food provides all the nutrients in sufficient quantities that humans need to be physically and mentally healthy and fit. In order for the body to get all the nutrients, the foods need to be combined. The following applies: The more varied and balanced dishes and meals are composed of predominantly plant-based but also animal-based foods, the easier it is to meet the nutritional requirements and the lower the risk of nutrient deficiency due to a one-sided diet.

The DGE nutrition group with its orientation values ​​for adults shows how a healthy selection of foods can look proportionally (see also: Consumption recommendations).

We have put together practical nutrition tips for implementing a wholesome, healthy diet and specific recommendations for food selection on the following pages.

2. Fruits and vegetables - take "five a day"

Fruits and vegetables are at the heart of our diet. At least 3 servings of vegetables (= 3 handfuls; approx. 400 g) and 2 servings of fruit (= 2 handfuls; approx. 250 g) should be distributed over the meals of the day. They are rich in valuable ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and secondary plant substances. In addition, they have a filling effect, with a high water content and low energy density, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.

To avoid loss of vitamins, fruits and vegetables should be consumed as fresh as possible or cooked briefly and gently. Legume dishes and a seasonal selection make meals more colorful, richer and more varied in their ingredients over the year. A small handful of unsalted nuts, seeds or seeds in muesli, salad, vegetables, bread or as a snack every day also provides valuable fatty acids.

3. Choose whole grains

Rely on “whole grains” for cereals and cereal products. Because whole grain products offer more fiber, vitamins, minerals and trace elements than white flour products. Dietary fiber saturates you and ensures better digestion. They also have a beneficial effect on blood sugar and lipid levels, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

These are all important reasons to eat more whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, cereal dishes such as patties, cakes, stews or casseroles, cereal flakes and muesli!

As part of a healthy diet, 30 g of fiber per day is recommended. On average, men and women only consume around 18-19 g of fiber per day (12th Nutrition Report 2012, NVS II).

An example of how you can achieve the recommendation of 30 g fiber / day and tables on the fiber content of selected foods can be found in the chapters on constipation and fat metabolism.

In addition to whole grain products, potatoes, legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts are also important sources of fiber.

4. Supplement the selection with foods of animal origin

Animal foods include milk, dairy products and cheese, fish, meat and sausage products, and eggs.

Milk, dairy products and cheese mainly contain readily available protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, B vitamins, iodine and calcium.

Milk, dairy products and cheese are considered to be the most important calcium suppliers for our bone substance due to their consumption quantities and their better usability compared to plant-based foods. They should therefore be on the menu every day. In terms of quantities, 200-250 ml of milk, yoghurt, kefir or buttermilk and 50-60 g of cheese (2 slices per day) are recommended. Lower-fat products contain less animal fat and are therefore to be preferred.

For adults, the recommended daily intake for calcium is 1000 mg to prevent osteoporosis. (See also: Calcium content of some foods)

fish should be on the menu once or twice a week. Low-fat sea fish such as saithe, redfish, plaice or cod contain important iodine for the thyroid. High-fat fish such as salmon, herring or mackerel provide valuable omega-3 fatty acids for the cardiovascular system.

Meat and sausages In addition to high-quality protein, they also contain iron, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc. However, through meat and especially sausage products, we also consume unfavorable ingredients such as animal fats, cholesterol and purines, which can have a negative effect on fat metabolism, uric acid levels and body weight. Red meat as well as smoked and cured sausage products are also associated with the development of colon cancer and rectal cancer.

Therefore, foods of animal origin should only supplement plant-based foods and should not consume more than 300 to 600 g of meat and sausages per week. A fat-conscious selection and preparation is also recommended here.

Eggs are known as a valuable source of protein and contain significant amounts of iron, iodine, vitamin D and B vitamins. However, due to their high fat and cholesterol content, they should not be consumed excessively (see food ingredients: chicken eggs). Three eggs per week (including processed egg) are considered moderate.

5. Use health promoting fats

Fats and oils are energy carriers, provide important essential (vital) fatty acids, support the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and serve as flavor carriers.

Due to the high energy density (1g of fat contains 9 kcal), visible and hidden fats in food should be used sparingly in order to avoid obesity. With an energy requirement of 2000-2500 kcal per day, 60 to 80 g of fat are sufficient. We recommend 10-15 g high-quality oil and 15-30 g butter or margarine. This leaves approx. 35 - 55 g for invisible fats from food.

In addition to the amount of fat, the quality of the fat is of decisive importance. Fats with a high proportion of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered “health-promoting”. Oils with many polyunsaturated fatty acids, which at the same time have a higher proportion of alpha-linolenic acid (n-3) compared to linoleic acid (n-6), are also better rated in order to achieve the recommended fatty acid ratio of 5: 1 (n- 6: n-3).

Linseed oil, rapeseed oil, walnut oil, olive oil and soybean oil are ideally suited for this.

In addition, the essential fatty acids are contained in foods such as nuts, seeds and seeds as well as high-fat sea fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel.

In order to achieve the recommended amount and quality of fat, on the other hand, it is also necessary to prefer a low-fat food selection for meat, sausage products, milk, dairy products and cheese as well as for finished products, confectionery and snacks and / or possibly one or the other portion size rethink.

Animal foods contain mostly saturated fats. In finished products, confectionery and margarine, hydrogenated fats may also be included. Hydrogenated fats and too much saturated fatty acids increase the risk of developing a lipid metabolism disorder and the development of cardiovascular diseases. The consumption of saturated fatty acids can be reduced through a fat-conscious food selection. Foods that contain hydrogenated fats should be avoided whenever possible.

6. Save sugar and salt

Why save sugar? Sugar, high-sugar foods and beverages contain hardly any nutrients, but provide many so-called "empty calories". As a result, they particularly favor the development of obesity and tooth decay. Those who frequently eat too much sweet things and thus forego other, nutrient-rich foods also run the risk of malnutrition.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the intake of added sugar should not exceed 10% of the energy intake. With an energy requirement of 1500 - 2500 kcal / day, this corresponds to approx. 40 to 60 g of sugar per day.

The total amount of sugar includes, on the one hand, the sugar that is naturally contained in foods such as honey, syrup, fruit juices or fruit juice concentrates, and, on the other hand, single and double sugars that are used by the manufacturer in foods such as beverages, jams, desserts, desserts, Dairy products such as fruit yoghurt, cakes, pastries and many convenience products can be added. The single and double sugars naturally contained in milk, fresh fruit and vegetables are exempt from the WHO guideline.

Food and drinks sweetened with sugar should therefore be avoided whenever possible. Sugar should only be used sparingly in the household and not in beverages.

The Foundation for Child Health has formulated a few tips for dealing with sweets.

Why save salt? In Germany, adults consume approx. 9 to 10 g of table salt (NaCl) per day and thus exceed the table salt intake recommended by the DGE of a maximum of 4 to 6 g of table salt per day (13th Nutrition Report 2016, p. 53).

Excessive salt intake favors the development of high blood pressure, influences its therapy and thus increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Table salt should therefore be used sparingly in the kitchen and, if so, enriched with iodine and fluoride. By using fresh herbs or spices and flavorful cooking methods such as steaming, grilling and roasting, dishes can also be cooked without salt (see also low-salt recipes).

For more tips on conserving salt, with tables showing the salt content of some foods and mineral water, see the chapter on high blood pressure (hypertension).

7. It is best to drink water

Water is the most important food for the human organism. The body consists of more than half of water and needs an adequate supply of fluids in order to maintain its functions.

Around 1.5 liters of liquid should be drunk daily. Water and other calorie-free beverages like unsweetened tea are ideal thirst quenchers.

Under normal circumstances, adults require between 30 and 40 ml of total fluid per kg of body weight and day (approx. 2 to 3 liters per day). As part of a healthy, wholesome diet, 700 to 900 ml of water are consumed through water-rich foods such as vegetables and fruit. So if you eat little of it, you should drink more!

The right choice of drinks is also important!

In 2017, the DGE consciously reformulated the seventh rule from “plenty of fluids” to “it is best to drink water”. Drinks sweetened with sugar and alcoholic beverages are not recommended because they do not provide any important nutrients, but a lot of unnecessary calories. In addition, drinks rich in sugar promote the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Alcohol carries many health risks and promotes the development of cancer.

An interesting article on the topic: "Sugary drinks: even small savings worthwhile" can be found on the DEBInet blog.

8. Prepare gently

It is not only the conscious selection of food that is important for a wholesome diet, but also storage and careful preparation.

Many vital ingredients are very sensitive to oxygen, light, heat and water. Many vitamins are lost through incorrect storage and improper preparation and preparation.


  • Fresh food such as B. It is best to store fruit and vegetables in a dark and cool place.
  • Only chop vegetables and fruit after washing and process immediately without leaving them in water for a long time.
  • Choose cooking methods that are gentle on nutrients and use little water and little fat.
  • Cook the food for as long as necessary and as short as possible.
  • Do not let the food burn.
  • Do not keep prepared food warm, but rather cool it down quickly and only reheat it when necessary.

9. Eat and enjoy mindfully

Consciously interrupt the hectic pace of everyday life, allow yourself a break and enjoy a wholesome, healthy meal in peace. This is possibly the basic building block of a healthy, wholesome diet, because in a hurry you often subconsciously eat more than you actually want. There is also the risk that the meals will be put together on one side. Slow, conscious eating and good chewing support digestion, promote satiety and enjoyment.


Check your eating habits with the Eating Behavior Check.

10. Watch your weight and keep moving

Body weight and physical activity have a strong influence on health, performance and well-being.

Both being overweight and underweight are unhealthy in the long run: Overweight (BMI: 25-29.9 kg / m²) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg / m²) are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, disorders of lipid metabolism, High blood pressure, gout, joint wear and tear and cancer. Underweight (BMI <18.5 kg / m²) harbors the risk of undernourishment and malnutrition with serious nutritional deficits, which are associated with functional losses in the body.

As part of a healthy, wholesome diet, the energy supply should therefore be adapted to the individual energy needs.

Regular physical activity maintains muscle mass, promotes muscle growth, increases the basal metabolic rate, helps to maintain weight and performance in the long term and also has a positive effect on blood pressure, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Last but not least, exercise has a positive effect on the psyche and well-being and is therefore a compensation for stress for many people.

In addition to regular sporting activities, an active everyday life with climbing stairs, cycling, walking more often or working in the garden is also effective. The DGE recommends 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day in order to maintain health.

You can find more information on this on our pages on the subject of obesity (overweight). You can calculate your BMI, energy requirement and energy consumption with the help of the tools.