You might have noticed that a high proportion of supermodels tend to come from Brazil, and you might even have heard that Brazilians tend to eat a healthier diet. But is this really true, or is this perception just based off of a handful of famous, beautiful people? After all, we have celebrities here, too.
Well, it might not be a completely untrue stereotype. The obesity rate in Brazil is indeed much lower than in the United States: 18 percent, compared to our alarming 33 percent. The Brazilian government has actually focused heavily on public health initiatives, and it appears that their efforts are paying off.
So, what exactly are they doing? The Brazilian Ministry of Health states, “Ultra-processed foods disturb mechanisms located in the digestive system and the brain that ensure that the intake and expenditure of dietary energy is balanced. These mechanisms tend to underestimate the energy contained in ultra-processed foods, with the result that the sense of satiety occurs only after excess consumption. Excess dietary energy is stored as body fat. The result is obesity.” The government consistently warns against processed foods, and the people are listening. The average Brazilian obtains about 21 percent of their daily nutrition from processed foods. Meanwhile, Americans obtain nearly 60 percent of their diets from a box or bag.
Once you ditch the processed foods, what takes their place? Brazilians consume a diet heavy in seafood, beans, fresh produce, lean meats, nuts, and so on. They are eating more closely to how nature dictates, and the country’s efforts are paying off. As a whole, their national health statistics look far better than ours!
When you’re at the grocery store, remember to pause and read ingredients. Generally speaking, most items in a box or bag should be avoided, although some are okay (carrots come in bags, after all). The longer an ingredients list is, the more unhealthy it is likely to be. Opt for fresh foods instead, that haven’t been altered much (or at all) from their natural states.
If you have more questions about eating for better health, or you need a weight loss plan, call our office to schedule an appointment. We can help you learn more about nutrition, and how to enjoy a longer, healthier life by choosing the right foods.