A new Eat-Lancet report reveals the changes that need to be made in the next 30 years towards a healthy global diet. The document suggests that without action, the world could fail to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also outlines how we may achieve a planetary health diet for nearly 10 billion people by 2050.
“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%,” said Prof. Walter Willet MD as part of the study. “A diet rich in plant-based foods with few animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”
The report highlights a major global shift that is needed if we are to meet UN goals and improve the nutrition of people around the world. With that in mind, the document also sets out scientific targets for both healthy diets and sustainable food production:
Target 1: Healthy diets
Top of the agenda, healthy diets need to be in place to optimise people’s health and physical well-being. According to the information, a healthy diet is one that contains an optimal calorie intake, a diverse range of plant-based products, low levels of animal products and low levels of refined grains and added sugars.
The report suggests that making this shift towards a more plant-focussed diet could help combat the global burden of disease, the comparative risk and the empirical disease risk. Put simply, switching to this healthier diet plan could mean that you lower your risk of suffering from a disease or illness in the long-term. With that in mind, we should also make changes to our eating habits that will impact our health.
Target 2: Sustainable Food Production
Current food production methods could contribute toward climate change, land-system changes, and biodiversity loss (the risk of extinction of species). To combat these issues, the document suggests a variety of actions including a shift towards the planetary diet, reducing waste food by half and better production practices.
Adopting a planetary diet means cutting back on meat and processed foods in favour of natural produce. For example, you might choose to have a meal consisting of fresh vegetables and pseudograins rather than a processed ready meal or even meat. By making small changes, we can all positively affect the food industry.
Reducing food waste is a burden that we have to shoulder together. Many schemes — such as Too Good To Go and Olio — help people to lessen their food wastage on an individual level. Companies and food providers have the biggest obligation to come up with innovative solutions to this growing problem.
Better production practices should also be adopted by food companies, meaning that fewer emissions are created in the process. Technological advancements can help within this area and, thanks to the new report, will be made a priority.
While these changes are possible, the main takeaway from the report is that immediate action is needed. The data tells a complicated and worrying story. If we are to make the right transformations by the year 2050, we need to start taking significant steps sooner rather than later.
At Shed, we’re passionate about the future of food, people’s health and the planet. That’s why our products take a plant-focussed approach; including more plant products and fewer animal sources. We hope that by playing our part in the shift, we can encourage positive change together.