Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Cut meat to half-rasher a day to save planet

Cut meat to half-rasher a day to save planet

In other words, the "planetary health diet" is comprised of 50 percent fruits and vegetables and 50 percent a mix of plant protein, plant oils, and whole grains.

An global panel has released the first scientific targets for healthy diets worldwide through sustainable food production that will require Indians to increase their protein consumption and curtail their intake of potatoes.

Moving to a "healthy diet" would require significant shifts to existing dietary habits in most countries, including the UK.

To achieve the healthy diet goals by 2050, global consumption of foods like red meat and sugar would need to be slashed by more than half, and consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes would need to be more than doubled.

The panel, the EAT-Lancet Commission, has determined that daily healthy diets should contain at least 35 per cent calories from whole grains and tubers, protein sources mainly from plants but including up to 14 grams meat per day, and 500 grams of vegetables and fruits.

Even eggs and fish would be drastically cut back, with only an ounce of fish per day or an egg and a half per week allowed under the guidelines.

Those who enjoy eggs in the morning will also be limited to around 1.5 per week, the EAT-Lancet Commission said.

The report, which can be accessed here, said that the earth's current food systems are "faulty" and are a major contributor to climate change and the destruction of the planet. "This puts both people and the planet at risk", the team said.

While people in some poorer counties may benefit from getting more of the nutrients in meat and dairy products, the report says they shouldn't follow the path of richer countries in how much of those foods they eat in coming years.

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"The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet". "That's because this reduces unhealthy parts of the diet but substantially increases health-promoting parts of the diet".

Ultimately the new diet could globally prevent up to 11.6 million premature deaths per year, according to its creators.

"Farming in the European Union produces around 10pc of total carbon emissions, he said, while energy produces over 80pc, when are we going to hear the proposals for that energy production sector that's responsible for eight times more carbon emissions than the food sector?"

The diet is the result of a three-year project commissioned by The Lancet and involving 37 specialists from 16 countries.

"From a sustainability perspective, it would be counterproductive to reduce meat production in Ireland, only to import food from less sustainable systems overseas", MII stated.

Panel members said the target diets would help feed the anticipated global population of 10 billion by 2050 through sustainable food production while addressing issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and land use. They say people should think of meat as a treat and have "a burger once a week or a steak once a month".

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, said of the research: 'Their desire to limit people to eating one tenth of a sausage a day leaves us in no doubt that we are dealing with fanatics.

The authors argue that the lack of scientific targets for a healthy diet have hindered efforts to transform the food system.

"They say they want to save the planet but it is not clear which planet are they on".

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