Monday, February 23, 2015

Brazil 's best nutritional guidelines

Although Brazil is known for having the best nutritional guidelines in the world, it still has its own set of problems with a "gain" in obesity rates. It may be because healthier foods -- like fruits and vegetables are becoming more and more expensive and the rate of overly processed foods is becoming more commonplace. Despite this discouraging news though, Brazil still has not reached the rate of obesity rates suffered in the United States.

As this article points out, there are various differences in the way that the United States and Brazil present their nutritional guidelines. For one, the United States just released a 600-page report that is meant to inform Americans about how they should approach their dietary guidelines. Brazil, on the other hand, uses a different approach and instead of having an extremely large guidelines report, it is condensed down to 143 pages.

The Brazilian population doesn't approach and see food as we see it here in the United States -- merely by calories or nutrients or plain old weight loss. In Brazil, people are encouraged to focus on the entire meal and to cook with whole foods. Imagine how obesity would diminish here in the US if more and more people cooked with whole foods at home instead of going out to eat every day?

The Brazilian "golden rule" follows the following premise (as learned from Michael Pollan):

"Always prefer natural or minimally processed foods and freshly made dishes and meal to ultra-processed foods. In other words, 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 soups, instant noodles, pre-prepared frozen dishes, sandwiches, cold cuts and sausages, industrialized sauces, ready-mixes for cakes), and stick to homemade desserts, avoiding industrialized ones."

That all sounds like pretty sound advice. And, yes, in the grand scheme of things obesity has become a problem pretty much everywhere in the world, but in some countries -- like Brazil -- great strides are being taken to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Perhaps we in the United States can learn something from them...

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