Explaining Brazil #40: Brazil’s crackdown on sugar

This week’s podcast, Brazil’s crackdown on sugar, was supported by Voom, an Airbus company. Voom is an on-demand helicopter booking platform that allows its passengers to fly between nine different helipads in the city of São Paulo from Monday to Saturday for less than BRL 500.

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Brazil’s crackdown on sugar

Let’s face it. We’ve all got a bit of a sweet tooth. But Brazil could well have the rest of the world beat when it comes to sugary foods.

Of the most traditional desserts in Brazil—such as brigadeiro, beijinho, or pudim de leite—are almost all are loaded with sugar, to the point that they are almost diabetes-inducing. Order a simple black coffee at a Brazilian bakery, and it could come sweetened with up to four or five spoons of sugar.

And sure, sometimes it can be nice to indulge your sweet side, but all this comes at a price.

At the end of November, Brazil’s Ministry of Health signed an agreement with leaders of the food and drink industry to reduce the amount of sugar in their products by 144,000 tons by 2022.

Will it work? And why do Brazilians eat so much sugar in the first place?

To discuss Brazil’s love-hate relationship with sugar, we spoke to Sophie Deram, Ph.D. in nutrition and professor at the University of São Paulo.

We talk about the history of Brazil’s sugar obsession, what the Health Ministry’s agreement really means, and what the country can do to change its habits.

On this podcast

Euan Marshall is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Independent and Jacobin Magazine, among others. In 2014, he authored a comprehensive history of Brazilian soccer entitled “A to Zico: An Alphabet of Brazilian Football.”

Sophie Deram is a French-Brazilian registered nutritionist who holds a Ph.D. from the faculty of medicine of the University of São Paulo. She is the author of the best-selling book “O Peso das Dietas” (The Weight of Diets).

This podcast was produced by Laura Quirin, The Brazilian Report‘s co-founder. Her expertise lies in business development in emerging markets. After a seven-year stint in China representing French companies, she now lives in São Paulo. As PR & Communications Director, Laura develops The Brazilian Report’s international partnerships. She holds a joint MBA from Université Lille II in France and Fudan University in Shanghai.

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