In a new report last week, a global commission of experts say eating less meat and sugar, and more fruits and veggies, is the path to saving yourself and the planet.
The report finds that if everyone on the planet switched to a diet 50 per cent lower in red meat and sugar than an average western diet, combined with more fruits and veggies to substitute, roughly 11 million fewer people would die prematurely every year.
Not only would the change in diet help people, but the planet, too. By pushing agriculture over to more sustainable models that would reduce pollution and global warming that affects climate change, the earth would be much better off.
“Current diets are pushing the Earth beyond its planetary boundaries, while causing ill health. This puts both people and the planet at risk,” the commission said in a statement.
The commission is made up of 37 nutrition, agriculture, economics, and health experts, who’ve studied these issues for three years.
“The world’s diets must change dramatically,” Dr. Walter Willett, a Harvard University nutrition expert who was part of the commission, said in a statement.
“To be healthy, diets must have an appropriate calorie intake and consist of a variety of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-based foods, unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and few refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars. The food group intake ranges that we suggest allow flexibility to accommodate various food types, agricultural systems, cultural traditions, and individual dietary preferences — including numerous omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan diets.”
The planetary diet was broken down by the commission, showing the specific of the diet which would provide optimal calories and nutrients based on 2,500 calories per day.
“This is similar to most dietary recommendations,” Willett told reporters.
To give you an idea of the diet;s makeup, it would include up to about one glass a day of fat-free milk, two servings of fish a week, and about two small servings of red meat each week.
“The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong,” explains Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at City University of London, who was one of the commission members.
“We really need to shift towards producing healthy foods not only for humans but for the planet, also,” said Jessica Fanzo, a bioethicist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, another commission member.
“We need massive cooperation to really address the situation that we are in currently,” she said.
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