"The planetary health diet" promises to save lives
There is nothing better, fun and annoyingly normal than discussing diets as a New Year's resolution.
While detox remains one of the keywords you'll find most often in magazines (remember, in 6 months society wants you to have a bikini-ready body while feeling in total symbiosis with your inner-self), the new addition that popped into the sustainability news in January wants to help you live healthy while saving the world from hunger.
"The Commission is delivering the first full scientific review of what constitutes a healthy diet from a sustainable food system, and which actions can support and speed up food system transformation."
The principles of this diet are fairly simple: eat less meat (but you do not need however to turn into a vegetarian of a vegan), and focus on beans (also chickpeas, lentils and other legumes), vegetables and fruits.
The report was shared after a 2-year-long study led by 37 scientists who have tried to identify a way to reduce the negative impacts of our modern lifestyles and food production and intakes from a medical perspective.
As summarized in the BBC article, "The researchers say the diet will prevent about 11 million people dying each year. That number is largely down to cutting diseases related to unhealthy diets such as heart attacks, strokes and some cancers. These are now the biggest killers in developed countries".
The environmental aspects mostly relate to the reduced negative impact on the environment of intensive food production systems in the world by
"minimising greenhouse gas emissions, preventing any species going extinct, having no expansion of farmland, and preserving water".
The report however also emphasizes the need for governments to work together against food waste and better practices:
"This Great Food Transformation will only be achieved through widespread, multisector, multilevel action that includes a substantial global shift towards healthy dietary patterns, large reductions in food loss and waste, and major improvements in food production practices".
I haven't found a clear statement however on the negative side-effects of our choices as consumers related to where our food comes from. I haven't read either anything regarding animal welfare and the evolution of animal-farming practices (Dos not miss the chance to read the great article from this week's Economist issue: Chickenomics - How chicken became the rich world’s most popular meat to see how the same food preferences have impacted this industry).
But fair enough, the report mostly focuses on the food itself, from a medical perspective, and not on the irrelevant, avoidable GHG emissions related to global transportation efforts and to our wishes for non-seasonal, non-local food items.
The full report is available for download here. Let us know what you think about the "planetary health diet":
would you be ready to change your habits in order to change the world?