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Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética

On-line version ISSN 2174-5145Print version ISSN 2173-1292


GAI COSTANTINO, Chiara  and  MORALES MORANTE, Luís Fernando. Vegetarian dietary guidelines: a comparative dietetic and communicational analysis of eleven international pictorial representations. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet [online]. 2020, vol.24, n.2, pp.120-132.  Epub Jan 11, 2021. ISSN 2174-5145.


This study aimed to analyze the main pictorial representations of food-based vegetarian dietary guidelines from different countries as a starting point to design a new guide for this specific population in Spain.

Material and Methods:

Searching in evidence-based databases and webs. Associations of dieticians and nutritionists, research groups, universities, and private entities endorsed by nutritionists were chosen. Format, target population, type and number of dietetic (as food grouping, servings, quantities), nutritional and lifestyle messages were compared. Messages’ content and visual aspects, their position in the illustrations and their esthetic style were also analyzed.


Eleven healthy eating guidelines with illustration for the vegetarian population worldwide were selected. Most of the graphics were intended for vegans and vegetarians; eight of them were pyramids, two were plates and one food shelving. Five food groups were always present: vegetables, fruits, cereals and derivative products, pulses and soybean products, and nuts. Messages about physical activity were present in four of them and vitamin B12 supplementation in five. One of the illustrations contained a message about environmental sustainability; most of them (7 out of 11) reached up to fourteen dietetic and nutritional messages and more than 45 food, supplements and lifestyle icons. None has a hypertext or use digital tools in the online version.


There are differences in the position and composition of food grouping in vegetarian food guide illustrations. The main recommendation to consume grains, vegetables, fruits, pulses, soybean products and nuts daily was consistent in all the illustrations included. There is a need for more information on quantities and servings, foods rich in calcium or omega-3, vitamin B12 supplementation and environmental sustainability. Adding recommendations about the consumption of iodized salt would be important in the Spanish context.

Keywords : Diet, Vegetarian; Diet, Vegan; Serving Size; Portion Size; Nutrition Policy; Dietary Guidelines; Food-Based Dietary Guidelines.

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