When you think of Belgian food culture, there’s a good chance that “waffles” is the first word that springs to mind. But if a new food pyramid released by Belgium’s government has its way, the waffle— not to mention some of the country’s other main culinary exports— might soon give way to fruits and vegetables in the Flemish diet.
Released in late September by the Flemish Institute of Healthy Life, the new dietary guidelines take the form of an inverted pyramid, proposing a diet founded on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Processed meats, pizza, french fries, waffles, beer, and bacon don’t even have a home in the pyramid at all: instead, they’re banished to a small red circle on the side, with a label imploring readers to consume “as little as possible” of these tasty treats.
While everything that tastes good isn’t expressly banned by the new pyramid, a representative of the Flemish Institute of Healthy Life says they should be regarded as rare indulgences rather than dietary staples: “We want to make it clear that we don’t need these products. We don’t forbid them, but they should be rather an exception than rule,” they told Flanders Today. Given a possible link between processed meats and carcinogens, not to mention the massive amounts of sodium you’ll find in frites and bacon, these guidelines seem to encourage the avoidance of foods linked to health problems like hypertension and heart disease.
Still, it does seem a little odd that waffles might not be making their way onto Belgian breakfast tables as often as they once did. Maybe using whole-grain batter could be a pyramid-approved loophole? Regardless, stopping to enjoy a waffle with some bacon and a Belgian ale on your next trip to Brussels probably won’t kill you. Why not live a little?