Eat this, don’t eat that, eat this way. Does it seem like everyday the food rules are changing? Whether it’s a new fad diet (looking at you Paleo), a new food trend (green smoothies rock, though!) or even new rules, it seems like there’s always someone telling us how to eat. Often these rules are selectively studied, of funded by sources that might have a say in the outcome. Solid nutritional advice can be hard to find among all the noise, especially here in America.
As VOX explains it, our country takes a very punitive approach to eating: how much of this, this many calories per day, and the like. But the Brazil’s new food guidelines set a delicious example that can apply broadly and easily to people in all walks of life. These rules are being held up as a a shining example of good food rules that revolve around honoring healthier traditions and bring sensibility and mindfulness to the table.
As featured in Grist last week, there have been some positive changes in Brazil’s nutrition wisdom, which are being recognized far and wide and sensible, approachable and helpful. The news from Brazil is especially refreshing, considering that, like in America, they are facing a health crisis of lifestyle diseases. Overly processed foods and sugar are heavy in the Brazilian diet, while staple foods like rice and beans are being consumed less and less.
The new guidelines focus on simple changes and now rules about calories or grams of fat. The main point is to encourage eaters to choose a more whole-foods diet and make time for cooking and eating with friends. These two things make a big difference for health outcomes. If people are cooking less, they are likely eating processed foods loaded with oil and sugar, and if they are cooking at home, even if they are using oil and fat, it’s in more moderate amounts and eaten in a way that is more mindful and can help improve one’s relationship with food.
You can read a great interview on Grist with Dr. Carlos Monteiro from the University of Sao Paulo, whose Center for Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition to learn more about why the guidelines were created and how the doctor thinks they will help the health of the country. You can read the full document of Brazil food guidelines here (in English)