Brazil – a model for dietary guidelines everywhere?


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new dietary guidelines proposed by Brazilian health officials.  It’s refreshing to see guidelines that are based on overall eating patterns and eating real food instead of numbers of servings, food groups, nutrients, etc., that we’re used to in North America.

I first read about these guidelines from Dr. Marion Nestle’s Food Politics blog, so I figured I’d simply quote text directly from there (also the original Brazilian document is in Portuguese, so that doesn’t do me much good!).  Below is a description of Brazil’s guidelines.

“The guidelines…..are based on foods that Brazilians of all social classes eat every day, and consider the social, cultural, economic and environmental implications of food choices.”

The guide’s three “golden rules:”

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

The ten Brazilian guidelines:

  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.”

Doesn’t this seem so much more intuitive than something like making sure you get 8-10 servings of vegetables & fruits each day?  Imagine how much healthier AND less stressed about nutrition/diet/food we all be if we just followed similar guidelines.

What do you think?




  1. Susan Tippin · February 22, 2014

    Boy! so simple and easy to follow. Now if only more restaurant businesses and North Americans could alter their bad eating habits.

    • marcusoneill79 · February 26, 2014

      Thanks Sue…. Obviously there are lots of reasons why people eat poorly, I just think guidelines likes these could help to reduce so much of the confusion surrounding nutrition. I guess we’ll see if this sort of philosophy catches on with other governments around this world.

  2. lifeisrawesome · March 4, 2014

    Love this!! I like how it is important not just what to eat, but also the environment- I also like the idea of paying attention to where things are purchased. Whenever I go out to eat I tell the waiter that I am very sensitive to salt and oils because those get loaded on at restaurants!! Thanks for the post- I am a dietetics student and really excited to have found your blog! I am traveling to Thailand this summer where I will be attending a “Fruit Festival” to meet people and learn more about the high carb vegan diet. Love learning about other cultures! Seems to me America should start looking around! Yours in sustainability and vibrancy!

    • marcusoneill79 · March 4, 2014

      Thanks for the comment Katie. Here’s hoping these types of guidelines really catch on. Cheers!

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