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The Double Pyramid – What to Eat For Health & Environmental Sustainability

(POR) A new set of Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population (LINK) was published in 2014. And although it does not contain a typical “food pyramid” diagram, it does contain clear recommendations on what to eat to maintain optimal health for both you and the environment! We will discuss those in detail in our next posting. In the meantime…

After reading it, we came to the following conclusion: If the publication actually had a food pyramid it would look like the following (see below). This food pyramid was taken from the recommendations of a well known health professional in the United States named Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Information about Dr. Fuhrman is at the bottom of this posting.

The Correct Food Pyramid & Dietary Checklist 4

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Now – the Barilla Center For Food and Nutrition (BCFN) created the “double pyramid” in 2009 to show the relationship between dietary recommendations and the environmental impact of these different foods. Over the last 5-years that model has been updated with new and important data to make it more accurate. In short, the double pyramid shows what is both good for you and the planet.

Barilla Double Pyramid 1

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If we combine the two pyramid images – a double pyramid based on Brazil’s 2014 recommendations would probably look like this (see below). Note how cooking oils, fish and cheese are all pushed up to the top of the food pyramid (the “low consumption” end) when we combine the two images. Also note how well this fits with environmental pyramid now! It’s even more well matched than the original food pyramid since the “lowest consumption” foods are also those with the greatest environmental impact!

Modified Double Pyramid 1

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If that isn’t enough, the BCFN also published an independent set of environmental pyramids that show the (1) carbon footprint, (2) water footprint, and (3) ecological footprint for different types of foods. And all of them say essentially the same thing – that meat and processed foods like cheese and cooking oil have a large impact on the environment compared to simpler, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables.

CARBON FOOTPRINT 1

  • The Carbon Footprint, which calculates the emission of greenhouse gases during the lifecycle of food, is measured in grams of equivalent CO2 (gCO2 – eq). The average value of the collected data was reported for each food group, while the dotted band marks the distance between the minimum and maximum values. The impact caused by cooking was added if the food is normally cooked before eating. The average determines the order of the foods from the top downwards. (Information courtesy of BCFN publication: Double Pyramid 2014, Fifth Edition: Diet and Environmental Impact, pp. 57-8)

WATER FOOTPRINT 1

  • The Water Footprint, which quantifies the consumption and use made of water resources, is measured in liters of water per kilogram of food. For each food group, the reported value is the average value of the collected data, while the dotted band marks the distance between the minimum and maximum values. The impact caused by cooking was added if the food is normally cooked before eating. The average determines the order of the food from the top downwards. (Information courtesy of BCFN publication: Double Pyramid 2014, Fifth Edition: Diet and Environmental Impact, pp. 57-8)

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT 1

  • The Ecological Footprint, which calculates the earth’s capacity to regenerate resources and absorb the emissions, is measured in global square meters per kilogram or liter of food. For each food group the reported value is the average value of the collected data, while the dotted band marks the distance between the minimum and maximum values. The impact is added if the food is normally cooked before eating. The average determines the order of the food from the top downwards. (Information courtesy of BCFN publication: Double Pyramid 2014, Fifth Edition: Diet and Environmental Impact, pp. 57-8)

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Joel Fuhrman, MD (Medical Doctor) is a board ­certified family physician, New York Times best­ selling author and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods. Doctor Fuhrman is an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows including The Doctor Oz Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Live with Kelly. Doctor Fuhrman’s own hugely successful PBS (Public Broadcasting) television shows, Steps to Incredible Health and Doctor Fuhrman’s Immunity Solution, bring nutritional science to homes all across America. (LINK)

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LINK to source article 1

LINK to NaoNoMeu subject archive: Food Pyramids

LINK to NaoNoMeu subject archive: Brazil – Dietary Guidelines

LINK to Read the Portuguese Version Of This Post >>> Here

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