Recent changes in lifestyles, including diet, seem to be related to an increasing risk of chronic disease. Human nutrition is complex, and it is difficult to know the health consequences of single components of diet. However, the epidemiologic approach and the follow- up of wide cohorts of individuals bring new and strong evidences about the role of food and dietetic patterns on chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, several types of cancer and cardiovascular events. Recent knowledge supports nutritional counselling given in primary care, with the help of food guidance systems like the "pyramid" focused on healthy eating. The goal should be to increase intake of vegetables, grains and fruits, and to reduce fat and sugar intake.
Keywords: Healthy eating. Chronic disease. Cardiovascular risk. Prevention. Nutritional counselling.