“Food for Joy”: How nutritionists from different countries advise to eat

By | March 16, 2021

OUR CONCEPTS OF GOOD FOOD rarely match reality. Needless to say, both conservative gloss and pioneering Instagram blogs feed us bad advice every day . The Corpus publishing house published a book by nutritionist Elena Motova “Food for Joy” – with a body-positive and maximally non- disturbing approach to nutrition, as its editor and our regular author Evdokia Tsvetkova describes . We are publishing an excerpt from a book of valuable nutritional advice from around the world.

Let’s look at each other’s plates

In 2016 , a study on nutrition by Rosstat was published , in which 45 thousand families, or 103.5 thousand people, took part . The study used a 24-hour food reproduction method, where volunteers, with the help of a trained specialist, recalled what they had eaten in the previous day. In this study format , the exact portion sizes are determined using images of foods and dishes. If interviews are conducted in different seasons of the year, the picture is more accurate and voluminous.

What are the results of this titanic work? The food of our compatriots, even with a good income, cannot be called adequate and varied. And if money is not enough, and complete it difficult to consider: 29 % of families do not can afford fruit at least every other day. Only 62 % of women and slightly more than half of men, according to Rosstat, eat fruits and vegetables daily or several times a week.

This is probably due to the low consumption of dietary fiber. It’s a shame, because eating enough fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

What about vitamins? Even such irregular consumption of fruits and vegetables provides a normal amount of vitamin C. Contrary to rumors that ascorbic acid is not enough in modern food, men get an average of 86 mg, and women – 80 mg. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 40-45 mg per day for healthy adults , the American recommendations are higher and roughly correspond to the given figures of actual consumption.

30% of the study participants additionally took multivitamins and dietary supplements, hoping in this way to become healthier. However, the amount of vitamin A, B vitamins and iron that they received from food, and so it corresponded to dietary recommendations. Rumors of total vitamin deficiency have again proved to be untenable, and the possibility of getting the necessary nutrients from food is quite real.

The best fish is sausage?

In 2015 , the WHO classified processed meat products as carcinogenic to humans. Consuming them on a regular basis can adversely affect health by reducing the proportion of unprocessed foods in the diet and increasing the risk of colon and rectal cancer. Returning to the research of Rosstat: sausages, sausages, smoked meats daily or several times a week are consumed by three-quarters of men and 55 % of women. This shaft corresponds deep processing products excessive intake of salt: to 2.5 times higher than normal in males and in 1.5 -fold – in women.

Excessive salt intake is a significant risk factor for arterial hypertension. At the same time, just over a quarter of the study participants eat enough fish. Still, you need to know how to choose and cook fish , but with sausage everything is much easier.

The majority of those surveyed agreed in theory that sugar and salt should be consumed in moderation; that the diet should include sufficient amounts of vegetables, fruits and fiber, be balanced and varied; and poultry or fish should be preferred over red meat and sausages. But in practice, this had almost no effect on eating behavior and food choices . Indeed, changing habitual behavior is extremely difficult. Knowing and understanding is necessary, but not always enough to do.

And what about the sources of information? 90% of respondents receive information about healthy eating from regular media, on TV, from the Internet; 23.5% trust what their acquaintances say. People cannot be accused of not wanting to know – on the contrary, they eagerly seek and absorb information. Another thing is that among the available information about nutrition there is a lot of false and distorted information. Most of the study participants are at a loss for mixed food recommendations and do not understand which ones are really worth following.

Scientific advice from around the world

I am often asked how I eat. There is no secret here – I just follow the international dietary guidelines. They are compiled and updated by official expert organizations and are intended for ordinary people. The recommendations are based on scientific research and provide an answer to the question of what you need to eat to be healthy.

On the website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) you can find more than a hundred national guidelines diet. The guidelines differ slightly from country to country, but the basic principles and product groups are almost the same.

If I had to give a simple and short nutritional advice , I would use the Swedish guideline . “More: vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, physical activity. Less: red and processed meat, salt, sugar, alcohol. ” “In all honesty , ” write the experts at the Swedish Food Agency, “most people know very well what they eat. It’s no secret that vegetables are healthy, but sugar is not particularly good . “

In the United States , Britain and Spain, in order to clearly show all food groups, their ratio and distribution, the image of a plate with food is used. The Finnish Food Pyramid is a true work of art; and fish and seafood are singled out there in a separate group.

The nutritional principles outlined in the guidelines also take into account national traditions. In Japan, at the base of the food pyramid is rice, noodles and bread, and at its tip is some fruit and dairy products. In China, they came up with a food pagoda: the basic group of products is cereals, roots and legumes, a lot of vegetables and fruits, and it is recommended to quench your thirst with water. The Australian leadership advises to enjoy spices and herbs, and the importance of legumes is emphasized by the fact that they were placed in two tiers of the pyramid at once .

In Germany, special attention is paid to sustainable nutrition and care for the environment. The infographic of the Belgian document includes a section “less is more”: chocolate, beer, sausage, soda, fries and so on were sent there .

And here’s the Italian recommendations on nutrition for school children – a brochure that was sent to me from Bergamo. The introductory part, intended for parents, talks about the need to instill a nutritional culture from childhood. At home, the child follows family eating patterns, not necessarily optimal ones. At school, he will get the experience of socialization with food and learn to eat not only to “fill the stomach.” When friends eat some foods that are unfamiliar or not loved by the child, perhaps this will make him look differently at such food.

The second section is designed to be read with children: it begins with poems about a fun school lunch. The authors tell how interesting it is to try something new and discover unexplored tastes. The topics of table behavior , the development of a school menu are considered; written about seasonality, local food, vegetarianism. There is a chapter on the irrational use of water and food, the consequences of excessive consumption and responsibility for it.

The third part of the brochure is “This is interesting to know”. It is dedicated to acquaintance with the school kitchen: there are photographs of chefs and descriptions of their work. Learn about food production , including local farms and agricultural cooperatives. Provides information on nutrition for diseases when the child may need a special diet. The school has training projects of nutrition, such as “School Garden”. I am almost ready to envy the qualifications of Italian children in matters of nutrition .

The Brazilian Ministry of Health has written one of the most intelligent guides to eating a breakfast pictures, lunches and dinners. You will find it in the bibliography, but nevertheless I copied out a few quotes from there. On salt, sugar and fat: “Use oils, fats, salt and sugar in small amounts for cooking. When added in moderation to whole foods or minimally processed foods, they contribute to a varied and tasty diet without making it unbalanced. ”

On some industrial products: “Highly processed foods, such as packaged snacks and sugary soft drinks, are low in nutritional [and high in energy. – EM ] value. They are usually over-consumed and displace natural or minimally processed foods. Products of deep processing can be eaten immediately, which makes cooking and joint meals at the table unnecessary . They eat at any time and in any place: at rest and for work on the street, in the car, in the talk time on the phone. “

Nutrition as a life experience: “People are social beings. Nutrition and other food- related activities are part of the evolution of humanity, the development of culture and civilization. It’s a natural, simple, yet profound way to create relationships between people. “

Eating behavior

When years of life are spent explaining why food is not to be feared, it is a childish delight to read the same in the Global Burden of Disease. This is not the only guide of its kind. Canadian recommendations for nutrition 2019 was also filed in a positive way and tell us about the formation of healthy eating and a balanced relationship with food. In such a relationship, there is no place for feelings of guilt about food and food paranoia. Healthy eating is about more than food choices. From the section on eating behavior, I have selected a few practical guidelines. So:

Be careful about what you eat. Eating consciously means being aware of what, where, when, how, why, and how much you eat. Pay attention to the aroma, texture, and taste of the food. Short test – describe everything you ate yesterday and remember how delicious it was.

FOOD IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR LIFE; it takes time in every sense. Eating in a hurry, being distracted by gadgets and doing other things while eating, eating randomly and not planning meals are examples of bad eating habits that lead to chronic overeating. Please eat slowly, mindfully and without distraction.

PAY ATTENTION to hunger and satiety. Eating, not because of physiological hunger, but for emotional reasons or simply because food is available, can be a problem.

PLAN SHOPPING at the supermarket and cook at home more often. You can make this process as easy as possible by using kitchen appliances and involving the whole family in cooking. Eat more often with coworkers, friends, and loved ones. Since ancient times, a joint meal has been an affordable rest and pleasant socialization.

This is also written in the manual, but I will say it in my own words. A prerequisite for a balanced diet is the pleasure of eating. Enjoyment of food is important for physical health, as it ensures the coordinated work of the digestive, nervous, and hormonal systems. Nutrition can only be considered adequate if the eater is getting both wholesome nutrients and satisfaction from the food. Try new foods and don’t forget to enjoy!

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