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To present and discuss the dietary guidelines issued by the Brazilian government in 2014.
The present paper describes the aims of the guidelines, their shaping principles and the approach used in the development of recommendations. The main recommendations are outlined, their significance for the cultural, socio-economic and environmental aspects of sustainability is discussed, and their application to other countries is considered.
Brazil in the twenty-first century.
All people in Brazil, now and in future.
The food- and meal-based Brazilian Dietary Guidelines address dietary patterns as a whole and so are different from nutrient-based guidelines, even those with some recommendations on specific foods or food groups. The guidelines are based on explicit principles. They take mental and emotional well-being into account, as well as physical health and disease prevention. They identify diet as having cultural, socio-economic and environmental as well as biological and behavioural dimensions. They emphasize the benefits of dietary patterns based on a variety of natural or minimally processed foods, mostly plants, and freshly prepared meals eaten in company, for health, well-being and all relevant aspects of sustainability, as well as the multiple negative effects of ready-to-consume ultra-processed food and drink products.
The guidelines’ recommendations are designed to be sustainable personally, culturally, socially, economically and environmentally, and thus fit to face this century. They are for foods, meals and dietary patterns of types that are already established in Brazil, which can be adapted to suit the climate, terrain and customs of all countries.
To analyse the Na content and labelling of processed and ultra-processed food products marketed in Brazil.
A large supermarket in Florianopolis, southern Brazil.
Ingredient lists and Na information on nutrition labels of all processed and ultra-processed pre-prepared meals and prepared ingredients, used in lunch or dinner, available for sale in the supermarket.
The study analysed 1416 products, distributed into seven groups and forty-one subgroups. Five products did not have Na information. Most products (58·8 %; 95 % CI 55·4, 62·2 %) had high Na content (>600 mg/100 g). In 78·0 % of the subgroups, variation in Na content was at least twofold between similar products with high and low Na levels, reaching 634-fold difference in the ‘garnishes and others’ subgroup. More than half of the products (52·0 %; 95 % CI 48·2, 55·6 %) had at least one Na-containing food additive. There was no relationship between the appearance of salt on the ingredients list (first to third position on the list) and a product’s Na content (high, medium or low; P=0·08).
Most food products had high Na content, with great variation between similar products, which presents new evidence for reformulation opportunities. There were inconsistencies in Na labelling, such as lack of nutritional information and incomplete ingredient descriptions. The position of salt on the ingredients list did not facilitate the identification of high-Na foods. We therefore recommend a reduction in Na in these products and a review of Brazilian legislation.
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