Last week saw the publication of the report from the EAT-Lancet Commission. EAT-Lancet outlines how to achieve a globally fair and nutritious diet. They are aiming to feed the 10 billion humans on the planet by 2050. It is the first report to consider the impact of nutrition on the natural environment.
“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%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”Eat-Lancet Report
Target 1 is healthy diets. I have analyzed the report and created a table (below) with the food intake in standard portions. A copy of the report summary can be downloaded here. This is for people wanting to read the second target (sustainable production) and the 5 goals. I examine a planetary healthy diet in comparison to current NZ eating patterns .
|Food Item||g/day (range)||Portion size||Notes|
|Whole grains||232||30g||7.7 portions/day|
|Starchy vegetables||50||80g||3 portions/week|
|All other vegetables||300||80g||3.75 portions/day|
|Dairy Foods||250||250g||1 portion/day|
|Meat and poultry||43||100g||3 portions of 100g/week|
|Fish||28||100g||2 portions of 100g /week|
|Legumes||75||90g||5-6 90g portions /week|
|Nuts||50||30g||11-12 30g portions/ week|
|Unsaturated fats||40||1 tsp||8-9 tsp/day|
|Saturated fats||11.8||1tsp||2.5 tsp/day|
|All sugars||31||1 tsp||6 tsp/day|
This represents a fairly strict flexitarian diet. Most people could achieve this eating patter with planning. It would be more difficult to eat like this if you were time poor or had limited cooking skills. Food manufacturers and retailers would have to change their offerings to be part of a sustainable food system.
- Whole grains: We eat mostly refined grain foods in NZ. It would involve both a shift to whole grains and increased amounts of whole grains in the diet.
- This would be less potato, kumara or taro than currently eaten.
- For most people this is a significant increase in non-starchy vegetables.
- Most people would be increasing their fruit,
- This a significant reduction in dairy intake.
- Only 6 of the 14 non-breakfast meals would have animal source protein, the rest would have legumes or nuts as primary protein.
- There would be a tight limitation on butter, with a liberal allowance of oil. Added fat intake means frying and foods with added fats (baked goods) would be an occasional treat.
- The added sugar at 6tsp per day represents a big shift away from sugar sweetened foods. It would be biggest in the diet of younger people.
Concern has been expressed over iron and calcium intake from this diet. Again, this diet relies on good cooking practices to maximize non-meat source minerals. The caloric intake provided by this diet is approximately 10.5MJ or 2500kcal. This is approximately an “average” diet for an adult and some variation would be needed.
Many people would be reluctant to make these kinds of changes. If humanity is to protect the environment, while feeding 10 Billion people, we need to start making changes now and this is a good start. On a personal level following a diet like this will both reduce the risk of long term health conditions including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as managing them more effectively than the current diet.
I support and endorse the principles of this diet. Where possible I will demonstrate how to cook and eat within the limits outlined in the EAT-Lancet report. Please subscribe if you want to learn more.