Researchers say the way we eat today is, quite simply, not sustainable for future generations.
Around the world, too much land is being used in the production of meat, they say. (As an example, nearly 150 million acres are used to feed livestock in the United States.) Healthier alternatives would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A report, compiled by an international group of scientists and published by The Lancet, advocates for a “planetary health diet.” The diet would be good for you and healthier for Earth.
That diet puts a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds. The diet includes, in limited portions, animal protein, added sugar, dairy and eggs.
As one bonus, the recommended daily calorie intake climbs from 2,000 to 2,500 in the “planetary health diet.”
“Eating the best balance of calories from a mix of mostly plant proteins, mostly unsaturated fats, and from carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables along with a variety of non-starchy vegetables is the standard recommendation for the general population,” Margaret Mangan, a registered dietician at the University of North Carolina’s REX Healthcare, told Well and Good. “It’s widely known that the energy needed to produce the equivalent amount of calories from meat is higher and creates a greater carbon footprint — certainly at the industrial meat production level. Plant-based meal plans have the potential to meet one’s needs at a lower environmental and economic cost.”
Achieving sustainability by 2050 could prove to be a challenge.
“Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes will have to double,” lead study author Walter Willet says. “And consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50 percent.”
Think this “planetary health diet” could work?
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