Hans studied the food guidelines presented inde Schijf van Vijf‘ [the Dutch version of the Healthy Eating Plate] and found erroneous assumptions. Just like in the rest of the western world, the diet changed mid-last century: from very high in fat to low-fat with more carbohydrates.

Is it wrong to replace fat?

“With that ‘old’ diet, we had similar health scores as the southern European countries with their Mediterranean diets today. But we then replaced the fuel and nutrients provided by fat with the fuel of carbohydrates, resulting in a negative overall health effect. I wanted to make a change, for starters in Leende.”

- Hans van Kuijk

PHYSICIANS UNLEASH FOOD REVOLUTION 

  6 min

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

EXPERT OPINION

Joost Scholten & Hans Steenbergen  
 Nina Slagmolen & Kristian Busker  Xiao Er Kong

In the village of Leende in the Dutch province of Brabant, doctors, food entrepreneurs and residents started a unique project. Together, they have improved their diet.

The real life evidence project ‘Healthy Village’ makes the village of Leende in Brabant unique. Leende’s transition began with Hans van Kuijk; a sports physician, cardiovascular physiatrist and a resident of Leende. He discovered that although the residents were getting more exercise than average, the health figures in his village remained below the Dutch average.

- Hans van Kuijk

“I used to maintain an extreme low-fat diet myself and I would exercise a lot. Still, I was carrying a pot belly, found myself in the early stages of diabetes and my cholesterol was disrupted. It had to be the diet. But what is it that makes for a healthy dietary regime?” 

In order to reach the residents, Hans needed help. His partner in carbs is Norbert van den Hurk, general practitioner and a resident of Leende. They made a pact in 2016. 

No more doctor visits 

“My end-game is to eliminate all illness. The first step to achieving that is information. We ended up reaching a large portion of the 6,500 residents with cooking clinics, information meetings, recipes for sharing. 250 participants registered to be tested, which provided us with measurable results.”

- Norbert van den Hurk

1. Eat low-carb food with healthy fats.

2. Eat real food, pure and unprocessed.

3. Avoid highly processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.

4. Eat intuitively and listen to your body.

5. Afford yourself time and peace of mind.

6. Change how you think about breakfast and lunch.

7. Go for pure and unprocessed.

8. Take care of your intestines. The foundation of good health.

Results

176 of 241 participants lasted for an entire year. Their cholesterol and blood pressure were measured five times a year by their GP. On average, their cholesterol dropped as did their waistline and BMI. The practitioners also noticed a reduction in the amount of drugs prescribed for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

The physicians recently published a book about their unique project. With recipes and a comprehensive explanation of their approach, they want to inspire other villages – both in the Netherlands and abroad – to transition to a healthier lifestyle. Their food guidelines consist of eight principles. 

Eight principles

Information alone is not enough. And the physicians want to avoid prescription drugs as much as possible: address the cause of the problem instead of the symptoms. The physicians got in touch with local food entrepreneurs. Their involvement in the project is vital in creating a suitable food supply in the village. 

The entrepreneurs

“The local supermarket was in, we helped the baker with information about low-carb bread and gave the cafeteria tips about replacing fries with salad. Entrepreneurs could sense the opportunity as such a large number of residents took an interest in the Healthy Village project. It became lucrative to offer healthy products and menus.”

- Norbert van den Hurk

Food instead of pharma

Use ample olive oil (cold first press = extra virgin) as a cold dressing, to enrich dishes or for simmering at low temperatures.  

Real butter (dairy-based, preferably grass-fed), ghee (clarified butter) coconut oil, palm oil, palm seed oil and tallow are good sources of essential saturated fats, are safe to consume in considerable amounts and are the most suitable fats for heated preparation including frying, stir-frying and deep frying.  

Unskimmed dairy such as fresh (unsweetened) whipping cream, crème fraiche, sour cream, unskimmed yoghurt, unskimmed quark, cottage cheese and all types of unskimmed cheese (preferably from raw milk, no light/diet/semi-skimmed). 

Lots of seasonal vegetables, fresh or freshly frozen. Especially “above-ground” vegetables (leafy and stalked vegetables) contain few carbs. Below-ground vegetables (turnips, bulbs, roots), contain more carbs as do legumes. Vegetables from the sea (glasswort, seaweed, algae, kelp) are much lower in minerals like iodine.   

Meat, fish, eggs and unskimmed dairy products for essential and safe animal-based fats and proteins. Including organ meat such as liver and kidneys (lots of vitamins and minerals). Avocado, olives, nuts and mushrooms provide a good source of plant-based fats and/or proteins.  

What is the foundation of your everyday diet?

What are healthy foods?

Eliminate or avoid anything with lots of starch (bread, breakfast cereal, pasta, rice, potatoes, couscous, legumes).

Anything that has undergone heavy industrial processing; these products often contain lots of calories and chemical substances (E numbers) and few nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.)  

Fast-food, tofu, fake meat.

Anything ready-made (meals, soup, sauce, etc.) 

Coffee creams, creamers (powdered) and soy-based replacement dairy. 

Avoid any product that says “light”, “diet”, “0% fat”, “semi-skimmed”, etc. 

All types of sugar, anything with lots of added sugar and especially liquid sugar like in soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc. but the same goes for fruit juice, even if freshly pressed! Sweet sandwich toppings.

Eliminate all industrially processed fats: margarine, liquid baking products and most plant-based oils (soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, salad oil, safflower oil).

What are unhealthy things one should avoid as much as possible? 

What to avoid?

Food instead of pharma

Hans studied the food guidelines presented inde Schijf van Vijf‘ [the Dutch version of the Healthy Eating Plate] and found erroneous assumptions. Just like in the rest of the western world, the diet changed mid-last century: from very high in fat to low-fat with more carbohydrates.

Is it wrong to replace fat?

“With that ‘old’ diet, we had similar health scores as the southern European countries with their Mediterranean diets today. But we then replaced the fuel and nutrients provided by fat with the fuel of carbohydrates, resulting in a negative overall health effect. I wanted to make a change, for starters in Leende.”

- Hans van Kuijk

  6 min

Joost Scholten & Hans Steenbergen  
 Nina Slagmolen & Kristian Busker  Xiao Er Kong

In the village of Leende in the Dutch province of Brabant, doctors, food entrepreneurs and residents started a unique project. Together, they have improved their diet.

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

The real life evidence project ‘Healthy Village’ makes the village of Leende in Brabant unique. Leende’s transition began with Hans van Kuijk; a sports physician, cardiovascular physiatrist and a resident of Leende. He discovered that although the residents were getting more exercise than average, the health figures in his village remained below the Dutch average.

- Hans van Kuijk

“I used to maintain an extreme low-fat diet myself and I would exercise a lot. Still, I was carrying a pot belly, found myself in the early stages of diabetes and my cholesterol was disrupted. It had to be the diet. But what is it that makes for a healthy dietary regime?” 

In order to reach the residents, Hans needed help. His partner in carbs is Norbert van den Hurk, general practitioner and a resident of Leende. They made a pact in 2016. 

No more doctor visits 

“My end-game is to eliminate all illness. The first step to achieving that is information. We ended up reaching a large portion of the 6,500 residents with cooking clinics, information meetings, recipes for sharing. 250 participants registered to be tested, which provided us with measurable results.”

- Norbert van den Hurk

Information alone is not enough. And the physicians want to avoid prescription drugs as much as possible: address the cause of the problem instead of the symptoms. The physicians got in touch with local food entrepreneurs. Their involvement in the project is vital in creating a suitable food supply in the village. 

The entrepreneurs

“The local supermarket was in, we helped the baker with information about low-carb bread and gave the cafeteria tips about replacing fries with salad. Entrepreneurs could sense the opportunity as such a large number of residents took an interest in the Healthy Village project. It became lucrative to offer healthy products and menus.”

- Norbert van den Hurk

1. Eat low-carb food with healthy fats.

2. Eat real food, pure and unprocessed.

3. Avoid highly processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.

4. Eat intuitively and listen to your body.

5. Afford yourself time and peace of mind.

6. Change how you think about breakfast and lunch.

7. Go for pure and unprocessed.

8. Take care of your intestines. The foundation of good health.

Results

176 of 241 participants lasted for an entire year. Their cholesterol and blood pressure were measured five times a year by their GP. On average, their cholesterol dropped as did their waistline and BMI. The practitioners also noticed a reduction in the amount of drugs prescribed for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

The physicians recently published a book about their unique project. With recipes and a comprehensive explanation of their approach, they want to inspire other villages – both in the Netherlands and abroad – to transition to a healthier lifestyle. Their food guidelines consist of eight principles. 

Eight principles

Use ample olive oil (cold first press = extra virgin) as a cold dressing, to enrich dishes or for simmering at low temperatures.  

Real butter (dairy-based, preferably grass-fed), ghee (clarified butter) coconut oil, palm oil, palm seed oil and tallow are good sources of essential saturated fats, are safe to consume in considerable amounts and are the most suitable fats for heated preparation including frying, stir-frying and deep frying.  

Unskimmed dairy such as fresh (unsweetened) whipping cream, crème fraiche, sour cream, unskimmed yoghurt, unskimmed quark, cottage cheese and all types of unskimmed cheese (preferably from raw milk, no light/diet/semi-skimmed). 

Lots of seasonal vegetables, fresh or freshly frozen. Especially “above-ground” vegetables (leafy and stalked vegetables) contain few carbs. Below-ground vegetables (turnips, bulbs, roots), contain more carbs as do legumes. Vegetables from the sea (glasswort, seaweed, algae, kelp) are much lower in minerals like iodine.   

Meat, fish, eggs and unskimmed dairy products for essential and safe animal-based fats and proteins. Including organ meat such as liver and kidneys (lots of vitamins and minerals). Avocado, olives, nuts and mushrooms provide a good source of plant-based fats and/or proteins.  

What is the foundation of your everyday diet?

What are healthy foods?

Eliminate or avoid anything with lots of starch (bread, breakfast cereal, pasta, rice, potatoes, couscous, legumes).

Anything that has undergone heavy industrial processing; these products often contain lots of calories and chemical substances (E numbers) and few nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.)  

Fast-food, tofu, fake meat.

Anything ready-made (meals, soup, sauce, etc.) 

Coffee creams, creamers (powdered) and soy-based replacement dairy. 

Avoid any product that says “light”, “diet”, “0% fat”, “semi-skimmed”, etc. 

All types of sugar, anything with lots of added sugar and especially liquid sugar like in soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc. but the same goes for fruit juice, even if freshly pressed! Sweet sandwich toppings.

Eliminate all industrially processed fats: margarine, liquid baking products and most plant-based oils (soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, salad oil, safflower oil).

What are unhealthy things one should avoid as much as possible? 

What to avoid?

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
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