Brazil has taken an innovative new approach to their new food guide – take a look!

Brazil’s Ministry of Health recently issued the final draft of their new food guide that focuses on getting people to enjoy cooking and eating healthy foods.  The philosophy certainly fits with the Pure Prairie Eating Plan, and it’s got people talking!

One of the developers, Jean-Claude Moubarac, has a Canadian connection, having completed a Ph.D at the School of Public Health at Université de Montréal.  He describes the guide this way:

“It is not just concerned with avoiding obesity and disease. It is also designed to encourage positive good health and well-being among all Brazilians.”

“All the advice in the guide has been summed up in three ‘golden rules’. These are universal. Everybody in the world will benefit from following them:

  • Make fresh and minimally processed foods the basis of your diet
  • Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation when preparing dishes and meals
  • Limit consumption of ready-to eat food and drink products.

Most countries are now faced with rapidly rising rates of obesity and related chronic diseases. The Brazilian guide is a whole new look at food and nutrition. It takes a broad and comprehensive view of health, including the social, cultural, economic amd environmental dimensions of food systems and supplies and so of dietary patterns. In particular it examines the central role of different types of processing on the quality of diets.

The ten main recommendations in the guide are:

  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
  5. Eat in company whenever possible.
  6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
  7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
  8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.”

excerpt from Weighty Matters: Guest Post: Are Brazil’s New National Dietary Guidelines the World’s Best?

In a recent Globe and Mail article, Theresa Albert, food communication consultant and registered nutritionist had the following comments and suggestions for implementing the Brazilian Food Guide:

Here are a few of Brazil’s guidelines and how I would adjust them:

1. Prepare meals using fresh and staple foods.

Prepare 80 per cent of your meals, use a majority of fresh, single ingredients.

2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.

Use a maximum of 2 tablespoons of fats, 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1,500 mg of salt.

3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products.

Ready-to-eat food should be consumed no more than once a week. Drink no liquid calories other than dairy.

4. Buy food in shops and markets that offer a variety of fresh foods. Avoid those that sell mainly ready-to-eat products.

When in shops that offer ready-to-eat products, choose only those that contain mostly fresh vegetables and nothing deep fried.

5. Develop, practise, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.

Engage in your government supported Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. Support children in their school programmed meal preparation classes by empowering them at home.

6. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes. Avoid fast-food chains.

If you are in fast-food restaurants, make the fresh salad options the bulk of your food choice.”