Brazil’s Dietary Recommendations: World’s Best!
(POR) In a previous post we showed what a typical food pyramid might look like if it followed Brazil’s newest set of dietary guidelines. These guidelines were updated in 2014 by the Ministry of Health of Brazil and entitled: “Dietary Guidelines For The Brazilian Population.“ And according to some sources in the United States, Brazil now appears to have the best nutritional guidelines in the world!
HOW THE EUA DOES IT: You might wonder how this could even be possible considering the amount of money, time and energy that goes into food/dietary research in the EUA. The answer is simple. The experts responsible for setting these guidelines in the EUA tend to focus on specific nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. Food is not therefore treated in terms of how people actually eat or think about eating.
HOW BRAZIL DOES IT: “Brazil, on the other hand, does exactly the opposite. Their national guidelines don’t dwell on nutrients, calories, or weight loss. They don’t jam foods into pyramids or child-like plates. Instead, they (1) focus on meals and (2) encourage citizens to simply cook whole foods at home, and to be (3) critical of the seductive marketing practices of Big Food [i.e. giant corporate food producers].” (LINK)
1, 2, 3 … It’s that simple! Here’s a summary of their recommendations from pages 48-51 of Dietary Guidelines For The Brazilian Population (2014). One golden rule and four recommendations:
- The Golden Rule – Always prefer natural or minimally processed foods and freshly made dishes and meals to ultra-processed foods. Opt for water, milk, and fruits instead of soft drinks, dairy drinks, and biscuits. Do not replace freshly prepared dishes (broth, soups, salads, sauces, rice and beans, pasta, steamed vegetables, pies) with products that do not require culinary preparation (packaged snacks and soups, instant noodles, pre-prepared frozen dishes, sandwiches, cold cuts and sausages, industrialised sauces, ready-mixes for cakes) – and stick to homemade desserts, avoiding industrialized ones.
Recommendation 1 – Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet. Natural or minimally processed foods, in great variety, mainly of plant origin, are the basis for diets that are nutritious, delicious, appropriate, and supportive of socially and environmentally sustainable food systems.
- Recommendation 2 – Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts for seasoning and cooking foods and to create culinary preparations. As long as they are used in moderation in culinary preparations based on natural or minimally processed foods – oils, fats, salt, and sugar contribute toward diverse and delicious diets without rendering them nutritionally unbalanced.
- Recommendation 3 – Limit the use of processed foods, consuming them in small amounts as ingredients in culinary preparations or as part of meals based on natural or minimally processed foods. The ingredients and techniques used in the manufacture of processed foods — such as vegetables in brine, fruits in syrup, cheeses and breads – unfavorably alter the nutritional composition of the foods from which they are derived.
- Recommendation 4 – Avoid ultra-processed foods. Because of their ingredients, ultra-processed foods — such as packaged snacks, soft drinks, and instant noodles — are nutritionally unbalanced. As a result of their formulation and presentation, they tend to be consumed in excess, and displace natural or minimally processed foods. Their means of production, distribution, marketing, and consumption damage culture, social life, and the environment.
See also, pages 125-127 for a list of “Ten Steps To Healthy Diets”:
- Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet.
- Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations.
- Limit consumption of processed foods.
- Avoid consumption of ultra-processed products.
- Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and,whenever possible, in company.
- Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods.
- Develop, exercise and share culinary skills.
- Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life.
- Out of home? Prefer places that serve freshly made meals.
- Be wary of food advertising and marketing.