In the late 2000s, Carlos Monteiro recognized some thing odd about the food stuff that Brazilian folks were feeding on. The nutritionist had been poring around three decades’ truly worth of data from surveys that requested grocery purchasers to be aware down just about every product they acquired. In additional the latest surveys, Monteiro seen, Brazilians were purchasing way significantly less oil, sugar, and salt than they had in the past. In spite of this, individuals have been piling on the pounds. Amongst 1975 and 2009 the proportion of Brazilian older people who were chubby or obese a lot more than doubled.
This contradiction troubled Monteiro. If men and women ended up obtaining a lot less extra fat and sugar, why ended up they getting more substantial? The answer was right there in the details. Brazilians hadn’t seriously reduce down on fat, salt, and sugar—they were being just consuming these vitamins and minerals in an entirely new type. People today ended up swapping regular foods—rice, beans, and vegetables—for prepackaged bread, sweets, sausages, and other treats. The share of biscuits and delicate drinks in Brazilians’ browsing baskets experienced tripled and quintupled, respectively, because the first household survey in 1974. The adjust was recognizable almost everywhere. When Monteiro very first certified as a physician in 1972, he’d fearful that Brazilians weren’t finding adequate to take in. By the late 2000s, his region was suffering with the precise opposite problem.
At a look, Monteiro’s results feel clear. If folks consume much too significantly harmful foods, they set on much more bodyweight. But the nutritionist was not happy with that clarification. He assumed that a little something fundamental had shifted in our food stuff program, and scientists needed a new way to talk about it. For additional than a century, nourishment science has targeted on vitamins and minerals: Eat less saturated fats, stay clear of extra sugar, get ample vitamin C, and so on. But Monteiro wished a new way of categorizing food that emphasised how products were produced, not just what was in them. It was not just components that