Protein consumption

This indicator shows the proportion of animal and plant-based products in the total calorie intake, as well as per macronutrient.

65% plant-based

  • In 2014, the daily average protein consumption of an adult in Flanders was higher than the recommended amount (RDA) of 0.83 g per kilo of body weight.
  • The RDA for women (52 g/day) was exceeded by an average of 12 g. Men even consumed an average of 22 g more protein than the RDA (64 g/day).

What do we see?

Generally speaking, plant-based products are the main source of our energy (65%) and even account for 91% of our carbohydrate intake. Conversely, animal products are our main source of protein (61%). Intake of fats is evenly distributed between animal and plant-based products (each 41%).

What’s the aim?

In a circular model, we aim for a higher consumption of plant-based products. This is because they have a lower impact on the environment than animal products.

At the moment, we see that more animal products (especially cheese and meat) are consumed than the recommended daily amount. However, we observe an underconsumption of plant-based products, which means we need to change our consumption habits. This can be done by reducing our total protein consumption and by getting more protein from plant-based products than from animal products.

Although this seems easy to do, we have to remember that proteins are an essential part of our diet. In addition, our body cannot make all the amino acids we find in proteins. Since animal products have all the necessary amino acids, they are a complete source of protein. This is not the case with plant-based products (with the exception of soy). Therefore, in a more plant-based diet, we need to combine various sources of protein to achieve a healthy and balanced diet. For example, nuts, pulses, seeds and microbial protein from mushrooms, bacteria and microalgae. Our current consumption of these kinds of products is lower than the recommended amount, so making a change here would definitely help.

In 2021, the Flemish government launched the Green Deal Protein Shift with the aim of reversing the current 60/40 ratio of protein intake in favour of plant-based products.

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator shows the proportion of animal and plant-based products in the calorie intake of Flanders, as well as the distribution per macronutrient. The data comes from the food consumption survey that is conducted every 10 years by Sciensano. The most recent survey was held in 2014.

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