CBC’s website had a provocative article last week (March 5, 2016). Here is a link to their article which I recommend you read for background. The article references Jean-Claude Moubarac, a Canadian researcher who helped Brazil produce new dietary guidelines in 2014. According to the article, Moubarac stated that the Brazillian food guide focuses on how food is processed. Other highlights include an emphasis on fresh, minimally-processed foods and cooking meals from scratch to enjoy with family and friends. Here is a link to Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population (English .pdf version).

That is an interesting perspective. At an intuitive level, it really seems to make sense. I am not a dietitian. I’m just a guy who is learning about nutrition and healthy eating. Fresh food, home-cooked meals, limited salt and sugar. . . how can you go wrong? I like this approach, and it’s emphasis on minimizing the processed foods. The challenge is this:  we live busy lives, and we don’t always have time to shop for ingredients, prepare the food, and then construct a wonderful, fresh home-cooked meal.  Maybe we can leverage what we have learned about fitting healthy activities into our life and extend those principles to our nutrition lifestyle.

I think we need to consider re-orienting our whole view of food and nutrition. As I said in the title, we need a food guide. I’m not going to quibble about which one you use. The point is that we should always be becoming more knowledgeable about good nutrition, and more skillful at preparing nutritionally-informed food. Just like many of you challenged yourself in the fitness realm last month, keep raising the bar on your food preparation.

Learn more about what is in the food you eat. Learn how to program your food intake to meet your nutritional demands. Obviously, if you are working out regularly, you will need more energy. But don’t just settle for a pile of food containing x calories – select combinations of foods which provide a good balance in terms of what makes up those calories. Learn about quality. Learn about how to build a diet that maximizes energy efficiently, that actually works for and with your body. I’m not talking here about simply going on a “weight-loss” diet.  I’m talking about a general nutritional-intake plan. And, if you like data and data analysis, you should take a look at the following really interesting (imho) website. It provides nutritional data for different types of food, and presents a variety of indices and graphics to visualize relevant aspects of food nutrition. I think you’ll find it to be a helpful tool if you want to learn more about food. Here is the link: website about nutrition facts.

Stick with a food guide and become an informed “consumer”!