Brazil’s food guide is a lesson for us all

Brazil Food Guide Official name:

Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population 2014 (Portuguese: Guia alimentar para a população brasileira 2014)brazil-food-guide-fi

Publication year

Brazil published the first version of its dietary guidelines in 2006. A revised version was launched in 2014.

Process and stakeholders

The development process of the ‘Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population 2014’ was led by the Ministry of Health and the Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health of the University of São Paulo (NUPENS/USP), with the support of the Brazilian Pan American Health Organization Office.

The guidelines were elaborated in a participatory manner and in consultation with multiple sectors of the society. In the first stage, a series of workshops to elaborate and evaluate the first draft were held with experts from various sectors including health, education, social protection and agriculture, as well as researchers and representatives of civil society groups (leaders of professional councils and professional associations and members of public policy social control councils and consumer protection organizations). Following those meetings, a second draft of the guidelines was presented for public consultation in a website platform run by the Ministry of Health.un-food-guide-info

In the second stage, the Ministry of Health and the NUPENS/USP finalized the guidelines, having taken into account the comments from the public consultation.

Intended audience

The guidelines apply to all Brazilians aged two years and over and are aimed at all professionals working on health promotion and disease prevention (such as health professionals, nutrition and health educators and community and social workers).

Specific dietary guidance for children under the age of two, consistent with the general recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population, is available in the guide for health professionals in primary care ‘Ten steps to healthy eating. Dietary guidelines for children under two years’.

Food guide

Brazil does not use a food guide.


Ten Steps to Healthy Diets:

1. Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet

Natural or minimally processed foods, in great variety, and mainly of plant origin, are the basis for diets that are nutritionally balanced, delicious, culturally appropriate, and supportive of socially and environmentally sustainable food systems. Variety means foods of all types – cereals, legumes, roots, tubers, vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk, eggs, meat – and diversity within each type – such as beans and lentils, rice and corn, potato and cassava, tomatoes and squash, orange and banana, chicken and fish.

2. Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations

As long as they are used in moderation in dishes and meals based on natural or minimally processed foods, oils, fats, salt, and sugar contribute to diverse and delicious diets without making them nutritionally unbalanced.

3. Limit consumption of processed foods

The ingredients and methods used in the manufacture of processed foods – such as vegetables in brine, fruits in syrup, cheeses and breads – unfavourably alter the nutritional composition of the foods from which they are derived. In small amounts, processed foods can be used as ingredients in dishes and meals based on natural or minimally processed foods.

4. Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods

Because of their ingredients, ultra-processed foods such as salty fatty packaged snacks, soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, and instant noodles, are nutritionally unbalanced. As a result of their formulation and presentation, they tend to be consumed in excess, and displace natural or minimally processed foods. Their means of production, distribution, marketing, and consumption damage culture, social life, and the environment.

5. Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company

Make your daily meals at regular times. Avoid snacking between meals. Eat slowly and enjoy what you are eating, without engaging in another activity. Eat in clean, comfortable and quiet places, where there is no pressure to consume unlimited amounts of food. Whenever possible, eat in company, with family, friends, or colleagues: this increases the enjoyment of food and encourages eating regularly, attentively, and in appropriate environments. Share household activities that precede or succeed the consumption of meals.

6. Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods

Shop in supermarkets and municipal and farmers markets, or buy directly from producers or other places, that sell varieties of natural or minimally processed foods. Prefer vegetables and fruits that are locally grown in season. Whenever possible, buy organic and agro-ecological based foods, preferably directly from the producers.

7. Develop, exercise and share cooking skills

If you have cooking skills, develop them and share them, especially with boys and girls. If you do not have these skills – men as well as women – acquire them. Learn from and talk with people who know how to cook. Ask family, friends, and colleagues for recipes, read books, check the internet, and eventually take courses. Start cooking!

8. Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life

Plan the food shopping, organise your domestic stores, and decide on meals in advance. Share with family members the responsibility for all activities related to meals. Make the preparation and eating of meals privileged times of conviviality and pleasure. Assess how you live so as to give proper time for food and eating

9.Out of home, prefer places that serve freshly made meals

Eat in places that serve fresh meals at good prices. Self-service restaurants and canteens that serve food buffet-style charged by weight are good choices. Avoid fast food chains.

10. Be wary of food advertising and marketing

The purpose of advertising is to increase product sales, and not to inform or educate people. Be critical and teach children to be critical of all forms of food advertising and marketing.