Brazil's new food guide

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture
Brazil's new food guide

Interesting.

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Forget about categorizing diet by food groups, pyramids or nutrients. Don’t dwell on calories. Instead, focus on how food is made.

The Brazilian guide classifies food according to four levels of processing:

1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods (e.g. fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, eggs, nuts)
2. Processed culinary ingredients (cooking ingredients, e.g. salt, butter, sugar, oils)
3. Processed foods (e.g. canned fruits and vegetables, cured meat)
4. Ultra-processed food and drink products

WWWTT

Kudos Magoo for digging this info up and sharing with us!

This is how I approach diet. Only fruits for breakfast and lunch. Dinner I’ll have a hot cooked meal. Not the case for my children though. They get more meats. I’m trying to get my wife to adopt a similar diet to mine but no luck beyond a salad once a week. 

This diet plan is probably one that only Brazil can pull off. Now I’ve never been there but I’m going to take a half educated guess that their equatorial rainy climate probably produces the best variety of delicious fresh foods that only a similar geographic region can match!

when I was last in south China, I ate several varieties of dragon fruit pomegranate and other fresh fruit on a daily basis (not all at once though). But there are fruits in and out of season. That’s why I’m guessing Brazil would have a better variety and more in season. And everything local!

i doubt Canada can pull something like that off!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Now I’ve never been there but I’m going to take a half educated guess that their equatorial rainy climate probably produces the best variety of delicious fresh foods that only a similar geographic region can match!

Probably.  But the challenge for Brazil and neighbours won't be finding delicious fruit to eat, but rather choosing that over junk, and in particular, choosing not to drink sugared soft drinks.  Pop, not lack of choice in fruit, is the problem.

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i doubt Canada can pull something like that off!

Well, it's really just a guide to eating better, so I wouldn't subject it to the usual rules of success or failure.  I just found it interesting that they put decades of "calorie counting" or "percentage of unsaturated fats" away and looked at something that I think many of us are aware of anyway:  frozen Lean Cuisine crap is unhealthy because of how it's made, not because of how many calories it contains.

 

WWWTT

Well junk food fast food and the other food processing corporations probably have the loudest voice. I’m not even sure who really would stand up for healthy diets? Actually I have not a clue?

As far as I’m concerned,  Coca Cola and Lays probably put stuff into their products to make people addicted to their products. So really calories were never the issue. 

However I disagree about having diverse fresh local variety!!!  Local=cheap, plentiful=cheap! I have heard from several people who visit th US regularly tell me that fast food chains sell food for cheaper than what it would cost to buy healthier foods to self prepare in the US. And they believed that cost was a huge factor in unhealthy life. 

Bacchus

A 2 liter of pop is cheaper than water. A TV dinner is cheaper than making a meal. They have tv dinners in the US for under 2 dollars, sometimes for a dollar each

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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A 2 liter of pop is cheaper than water.

Well, if money's tight, maybe give ol' tap water a go?  It's still basically free.

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A TV dinner is cheaper than making a meal. They have tv dinners in the US for under 2 dollars, sometimes for a dollar each

It's cheaper than buying all the things to make such a meal (let's say dry pasta and a can of tomato sauce) by a small margin, but buying 900g of spaghetti for a dollar, and a can of sauce for $1.50 will get you six or eight meal portions, not just the one.

You can't just pop them both in the microwave in their packaging and wait three minutes though.  I think that's a big part of the problem.

But the idea that it's actually less expensive to buy something someone else has had to source, prepare, package and ship to you than it is to buy the same ingredients and make it yourself is a false economy right up there with the affordability of buying furniture on a rent-to-own basis.  It's just not.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Bacchus wrote:

A 2 liter of pop is cheaper than water. A TV dinner is cheaper than making a meal. They have tv dinners in the US for under 2 dollars, sometimes for a dollar each

In these parts a can of beer costs what a can of soda does. I'm not sure what is worse

lagatta4

Why so much fruit, as opposed to say green vegetables? I do eat fruit but eat far more veg. I made a pseudo-Indonesian stew yesterday, with tempeh and loads of vegetables.

The Brazilian guides also emphasize social aspects of eating, as opposed to eating on the run.

WWWTT

I don’t know Mr Magoo? I think Bacchus is on to something. Now I agree with you as well so perhaps there’s some combinations of ignorance of preparing healthy balanced diets using inexpensive ingredients with simple laziness? 

There’s also time restraints people may feel that they have. So fast food TV dinner appears as a solution. 

Myself I feel that if you don’t have time to prepare healthy food and excercise, well you know what I’m saying 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Now I agree with you as well so perhaps there’s some combinations of ignorance of preparing healthy balanced diets using inexpensive ingredients with simple laziness? 

There’s also time restraints people may feel that they have. So fast food TV dinner appears as a solution.

I'm sure these are all factors to some degree.

Certainly some processed food is meant to appeal to those with the least money, the least time and the least cooking ability.  I sometimes check out a YT channel called "the Wolfe Pit", featuring a host who regularly buys one dollar or two dollar frozen foods from Dollar Tree or Dollar General or wherever, and reviews them for taste, truth in advertising, and nutrients/ingredients, and most of the rock-bottom stuff is exactly that.  Just lots of sugars and starches and pseudo-meats and salt.

But interestingly, the slightly more "upscale" processed foods seem to be trying to respond to consumer aspirations for healthier food -- low fat, lower in calories, gluten-free, and so on -- so presumably there are eaters out there who aren't forced to choose whatever's the cheapest, and who want more fibre, less carbs, and so on, and I can't help wondering why those people don't just learn to cook a few things.

Personally, I'm inclined to believe that some people don't even really care to learn how to cook.  If you told a thousand people that you'd teach them to do anything they want, I expect you'd get a lot of answers like "fly a plane" or "play guitar" or "speak another language", but I wonder how many would say "I'd like to learn to cook healthy and cheap food".

Bacchus

Personally I love cooking and making preserved stuff like pickles, hot sauce, jam as well as stuff like my own garlic powder, onion powder, dry rubs, spice mixes etc

lagatta4

Like Magoo - also Timebandit - I love cooking, and not just fancy expensive stuff. By the way Loblaws and its many derivatives have  a good new product - frozen "leafy greens" (kale, spinach and collards, loosely frozen, not in a big brick one has to use right away. Expensive at full price, but I've bought 500g bags on sale for $2. A great product in the depths of winter.

There are various things teenagers (boys and girls) should learn to make. Crêpes is one - you can also make flat thin pancakes from chickpea flour - high in proteins and requires no added eggs or milk. Pasta and sauce obviously, and a mixed vegetable salad. Something resembling a chile/chilli/chili whatever with beans and vegetables, and some form of meat (usually ground or minced) if you eat it.

WWWTT

Going back to the Brazilian food guide. The first on the list is fruit vegetables eggs beans and nuts. 

All real easy and fast to prepare! 

When I was in China I bought these tangerines from the market that were very sweet and so easy to peel. Very cheap as well! Peel eat repeat. Fresh picked cucumbers from the garden sliced with a little salt. Celery with ceasar salad dip. Apple slices etc etc. All 100% better than a bag of chips

Also on that list is nuts. Now I’m guessing that the amazon forests probably produces s huge variety of different nuts. So I’m thinking that this new food guide is geared more towards the local agricultural establishment in Brazil. Sounds very exotic!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It’s nice to buy local when you can. Fresh is good, but frozen vegetables (and fruit) are not nutritionally inferior to fresh, either. It’s unlikely we’ll be going back to seasonal foods only any time soon. 

Some people love to cook, others don’t. And I don’t think calling someone lazy for having other priorities is in any way helpful. 

What I found interesting about the food guide were the levels of processing they delineated. I think it’s helpful to make finer distinctions. But I also think that processed foods get a worse rap than they deserve some of the time and there are sometimes really good reasons to use them. 

Here’s a link to a blog I really like - lots of common sense about the intersection of the ideal and what people will actually do. 

https://angry-chef.com/blog/an-unfashionable-defence-of-convenience

lagatta4

I don't like it. He is right about "processing", but actually food guides make a distinction between "processed" and "ultra-processed" food. He is also machist and rude, and I suspect, an industry shill.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I got the sense he was addressing the orthorexics of Pinterest, more than people suggesting that a frozen spaghetti entree shouldn't have 54 ingredients.  He's right that there's not that much wrong with Ragu in a bottle -- it's a step up from Mama Michelina's -- but that's not really a big factor in the whole "processed foods" discussion. 

Hard to argue with this, though:

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Although it pains me to admit it, a huge number of people are not interested in food, do not enjoy cooking and do not consider food to be a central, important issue in their lives. They just want to get something onto the table and doing that is one small problem among the hundreds of other things they have to think about every day.

Not much to be done about that, I guess.  Enjoy your Hot Pockets, or whatever.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Removed post.

I'm cross and it would not have helped.

lagatta4

There is no way Nigella Lawson is "middle-class". Her dad was Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) under Madam T.

I agreed with him about processed food; almost all human sustenance is processed in one way or another, but he was a nasty man who insinuated that anyone who didn't agree with him was "middle-class" and affluent. I know many people who are working very hard in community kitchens to promote healthful eating among people who are anything but.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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but he was a nasty man who insinuated that anyone who didn't agree with him was "middle-class" and affluent.

FWIW, I *do* pretty much agree with him in the specific case of pasta sauce.  But I don't think he was really talking to us, so much as those who feel that even using passata from a jar makes Baby Jesus cry, so we should all blanch and skin our own romas and get boiling them down.  In other words, I think he's taking his swings at orthorexic nags, who do also exist.

My only beef with his post is that he chose a pretty easy commercially-processed food to defend.  Tomatoes might welcome a pinch of sugar, but that doesn't explain why commercial food producers put it in pretty much everything, along with heaps of salt, cheap fats, and starch everywhere.

lagatta4

Yes, "naked" tomatoes contain sugar, as do onions and many other vegetables to varying degrees. Even the organic sauce from Italy I can buy very cheaply (I'm lucky that way) does, and it isn't harmful to most people. But as you say, he is mum on the real culprits.

And worse, assumes people concerned about our food are "middle-class" or twee.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

His context - and if you spelunk around the blog a little, it becomes pretty clear - are the clean-eating set, the logic and gluten-free crowd, who dispense very bad wellness advice and expensive diets of raw superfoods. So most of those clean-eating evangelists are pretty privileged. And while Nigella isn't middle-class, her following largely is. (Again, guilty as charged, here). Magoo has it right.

But he also has a point about the aspirational aspect to having the time and equipment to follow the kinds of scratch recipes that are often promoted. If you're trying to change your diet and incorporate a lot of unfamiliar foods and techniques, it can be daunting. So much so that a lot of people simply won't do it. But if you make the case for some balance, incorporate some convenience foods (frozen veg instead of fresh, for example, or a can of pasta sauce), but makes some changes, that's still a change for the better.

Pasta sauce isn't something it would occur to me to buy from the store, FWIW. And there are people out there who will openly disdain such a thing. But it's processed food and probably fine. Maybe just don't eat Doritos for dinner... but I think most people can get that message. On the other hand, if you want some for a treat, that's not wrong, either.

 

JKR

Will Brazil's new food guide include Brazil's famous rodízio?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodizio

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Rodízio (pronounced [ʁoˈdʒiziu] in Brazil) is an all-you-can-eat style of restaurant service in Brazilian restaurants. In most areas of the world outside of Brazil, a rodízio restaurant refers to a Brazilian style steakhouse restaurant. Customers pay a fixed price(preço fixo), and waiters bring samples of food to each customer at several times throughout the meal, until the customers signal that they have had enough.

In churrascarias or the traditional Brazilian-style steakhouse restaurants, servers come to the table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of quality cuts of meat, most commonly local cuts of beef, pork, chicken and sometimes exotic meats. The exact origin of the rodízio style of service is unknown, but the traditional story is that rodízio was created when a waiter delivered a meat skewer to the wrong table by mistake but let the guest take a small piece of the meat anyway.

JKR

We should add a Rodizio to Canada's food guide!

lagatta4

It probably counts for several meals, though!

Yes, I know that nasty man was attacking silly people like Goop Paltrow (I was going to call her an airhead, but that is usually used as a sexist slur, so I'll just call her nutrition advice pernicious nonsense). But why does he have to be so vile? That macho cheffy talk is the other side of Paltrow's nonsense. It is at the root of a hell of a lot of abuse of restaurant staff.

Perhaps the Royals call Nigella middle-class as she isn't an aristocrat, but she is certainly well up on the ladder of the bourgeoisie. Many home cooks get a laugh about her wearing posh cashmere pullovers as she cooks, not to mention her hair that would get in everything.

Frozen vegetables are fine. I used to hate them as they had an odd waxy texture, but the freezing methods have much improved in recent years.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fine, lagatta, but you're coming off as the tone police. I appreciate the swearing, and I think it's utterly deserved. Gwyneth Paltrow and other wellness gurus peddling nonsense are destructive opportunists, and if they get the pottymouth treatment, they've done lots to deserve it. Their actions are far more nasty that the chef ever was.

I don't get the "macho" criticism, either. There are plenty of women bloggers who swear, too. You should hear what Dr. Jen Gunter has to say about Gwynnie and company.

You can't object to an implication of being twee and be all upset that there's some cussing going on. It just reinforces the implication.

What Warner says is challenging to some ideas that you might have, but it's based in science - and yes, he's actually talked to the physicians and nutritional scientists out there, including people like Dr. Yoni Freedhoff (Canadian!) who is one of the foremost obesity experts, as well as Warner having been a biologist before becoming a chef. I found some of it challenging, too. But if there's new information based on fact that shows me I'm wrong about something, I don't get pissy about language, I just re-examine why I find the idea challenging.

lagatta4

Here is a Guardian article that discusses the person and the persona:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/18/angry-chef-debunkin...

I agree with him about detox diets, wellness nonsense and superfoods, but not about the harm done by concentrated sugar. There is sugar in all vegetables and fruits, but that is very different from the white stuff. Many nutritionists and scientists agree that there is far too much concentrated sugar in contemporary diets.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Chemically, sugar is sugar. It's either glucose, fructose or sucrose (glucose and fructose combined). It's pretty much the same as table sugar whether you get it from an apple or from corn syrup. Neither acts differently in the body. Too much is bad.  A moderate amount won't hurt you. Fruit juices, for example, are much the same as pop as far as sugar content is concerned. Neither are much recommended by nutritionists.

lagatta4

Yes, that is true. They are chemically the same or nearly so, but both soft drinks and fruit juices are assimilated very quickly, unlike solid fruit (including fruit-vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers). He isn't technically wrong, but I find he is being very simplistic.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I don't think he's arguing that fruit juices are comparable to whole fruit. I don't think anyone is. The amount of sugar you eat is important, but health-food recipes that replace table sugar with apple juice are replacing sugar with sugar from a different source, for example. It doesn't matter where it's from, sugar is sugar. It really is that simple.

wage zombie

Timebandit, I've never heard of Angry Chef before and enjoyed the article you linked about processed foods.  Thanks.  I expect I might find other articles on there I'll enjoy as well.

I think Brazil's new food guide is a smart way to go generally.  I don't think it would be too hard for government to distinguish standards and logos for food packaging to distinguish processed from ultra-processed.  I also think it wouldn't be hard to implement logos and info for "staple" (ie. it's fine to eat this every day) and "splurge" (fine to eat this every few days, or as a treat).

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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I also think it wouldn't be hard to implement logos and info for "staple" (ie. it's fine to eat this every day) and "splurge" (fine to eat this every few days, or as a treat).

Just the other day I read about some company (in Europe?) doing basically this, but I'll be damned if I can find it now.

They didn't create a logo, but they basically said plainly on the package that the contents were intended for occasional consumption and suchlike.  Sounds like a good idea.  The companies making "staples" (with the big green smiley face logo) will love the idea, and the companies making carb-sugar-greasebombs (with the bright red unhappy -- maybe dying! -- face) might not be as interested. 

The first sell will be getting some consumers used to the idea of "occasional treat".  I think a lot of people are used to "regularly" or "never" with food, and if there's an "occasional" in there it's because of cost or availability, rather than a sense that it's a somewhat unhealthy splurge that should be limited by willpower.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I don't think the graphics on cigarette packages changed many peoples behaviour. The laws against smoking in work places and restaurants and bars led to the biggest drop that and the high prices. If a bag of chips was three times the price of a healthy snack instead of a third of the price peoples habits would follow. Maybe a tax using a formula based on the salt, fat and sugar content.  The proceeds could go into the every expanding budget for caring for diabetics and other people affected by our food chain.