Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chew on these: The Brazilian rules, and rethinking food deserts

Looking around the food news this morning, I spotted two very intriguing stories:

1. On, Heather Tirado Gilligan reports on studies that question the current thinking that improving access to fresh food will improve the health of people living in poverty. It sounds counterintuitive, but studies aren't showing an improvement in overall health by getting fresh, healthful food into poor areas. One theory is that living in poverty is so stressful that the toll of it is harder on people's health than poor nutrition, and improving diets isn't enough to make a difference.

2. On a happier note, on her blog Food Politics, food-policy and nutrition expert Marion Nestle reports on a public policy effort in Brazil to issue dietary guidelines that take into account social, cultural, economic and environmental consequences of food choices. The 10 proposed guidelines:

  • Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods. 
  • Use oil, fats, sugars and salt in moderation. 
  • Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products. 
  • Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
  • Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
  • Eat in company whenever possible.
  • Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
  • Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.
  • When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains. 
  • Be critical of commercial advertisement of food products. 
Wow. Beats the heck out of the food-guide pyramid, doesn't it?