The Brazilian Food Guide

May 5, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Posted in uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Recently, I watched the Nature of Things CBC-TV show that highlighted the Brazilian Food Guide.

The Five Principles the guide used to set the guidelines:
1) Diet is more than intake of nutrients
2) Dietary recommendations need to be tuned to their times
3) Healthy diets derive from socially and environmentally
sustainable food systems
4) Different sources of knowledge inform sound dietary
5) Dietary guidelines broaden autonomy in food choices

Rather than categorizing foods by type (meat, dairy, vegetables, etc.), the guide categorizes by quality, according to four levels of processing:

  1. Natural or minimally processed foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, eggs, nuts).
  2. Oils, fats, salt, and sugar are processed culinary ingredients (butter, cooking oil).
  3. Processed foods (canned vegetables, pickled foods, cured meat, cheese, typical bread).
  4. Ultra-processed foods with industrial ingredients (snacks, cookies, flavored yogurts, soda, instant and fast foods, animal byproducts, etc). If an ingredient has a chemical name, it’s a chemical.

Thus, Four Recommendations:

1) Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of
your diet
2) Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts for seasoning and cooking foods and to create culinary preparations
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
4) Avoid ultra-processed foods entirely. “Ultra-processed foods damage culture, social life, and the environment.”

Their Golden Rule: “Always prefer natural or minimally processed foods and freshly made dishes and meals to ultra-processed foods.”

The guide goes on to offer meal suggestions.

The also recommend several Modes of Eating:

  • Eating regularly and carefully. Regular times, at the table, eat slowly and with attention.
  • Eating in appropriate environments. Clean, comfortable, and quiet without stimulus to overeat.
  • Eating in company, share in prep and eating.

The guide also explores obstacles to following it.

And finally, they suggest 10 Steps to a Healthy Diet:

1) Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet

2) Use oils, fats, sugar, and salt in small amounts

3) Limit consumption of processed foods and drinks

4) Avoid ultra-processed foods

5) Eat regular meals in appropriate environments and eat with others. Avoid snacking or treating a meal as a snack

6) Shop where you can get a variety of natural foods

7) Develop, practice, and share cooking skills

8) Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life – it’s for your well-being and longevity

9) Away from home, prefer places that serve freshly-made food

10) Be wary of food marketing

guide cover

The Brazilian Guide (pdf)

Canada recently revised it’s food guide as well. They were clearly influenced by the Brazilian approach as they added cooking more and eating with others. They didn’t depart from the food-types approach but they did de-emphasize meat and dairy, shifting to a broader protein approach that accounts for a broader dietary range.


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