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Brazil’s Innovative Approach to Dietary Guidelines

Faced with many of the same challenges the U.S. has in terms of mounting rates of overweight, obesity and related chronic disease among its citizens, the Brazilian Ministry of Health recently released an unconventional new set of dietary guidelines. Unlike the nutrient-based American guidelines, Brazil’s focus more on sensible, mindful preparation and consumption of food.

Three overarching principles set the stage for the 10 guidelines:

  • Make foods and freshly prepared dishes and meals the basis of your diet.
  • Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation in culinary preparations.
  • Limit the intake of ready-to-consume products, and avoid those that are ultra-processed.

The 10 Brazilian guidelines:

  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
  3. Limit intake of ready-to-consume food and drink products.
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and eating 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.

Do these Brazilian nutrition tenets make sense to you? Do you think your clients would respond better to a similar set
of guidelines than to the current U.S. standards? Now is your chance to be heard. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee is accepting public comment as committee members shape the landscape for the 2015 recommendations. Let them know your thoughts at www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015DGACRequestForPublicComments.asp.

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