Friday, 22 February, 2019


Plant-based diet plan may prevent 'catastrophic damage' to planet

The report from a panel of nutrition agriculture and environmental experts recommends a plant-based diet Ron Sumners The report from a panel of nutrition agriculture and environmental experts recommends a plant-based diet
Patty Aguilar | 20 January, 2019, 22:41

Western-style high calorie foods laden with saturated fats, are pushing the planet beyond its natural boundaries while causing ill-health and early death, say researchers.

"Indians should increase protein intake from plant sources such as pulses and legumes and with fish, fowl and meat in that order as part of a non-vegetarian diet, if preferred", said K. Srinath Reddy, a cardiologist and president of the New Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India and a member of the commission.

At the same time, the diet calls for a more than 100 percent increase in legumes such as peas and lentils, along with vegetables, fruits and nuts.

No more than 29g of chicken should be eaten a day, with one and a half eggs per week being the max consumed. Eggs would be restricted to around 1.5 per week.

The commission brought together 37 experts in agriculture, environmental sustainability, human health, and political science from 16 countries.

"The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet". "A combination of policies and practises will be needed to enable farmers to meet their ambitions but we must not forget the impact of a changing climate on food production - we only have to look back to the drought past year to see the effect it can have".

He added these problems are not easily fixed, but the goal is in reach.

The report was published this week in the medical journal Lancet, and contributors include experts from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and leading schools around the world.

John Ioannidis, chair of disease prevention at Stanford University, said he welcomed the growing attention to how diets affect the environment, but that the report's recommendations do not reflect the level of scientific uncertainties around nutrition and health.

Ultimately, the new guidelines could globally prevent up to 11.6 million premature deaths per year, according to its creators. Adult death rates would be reduced by up to 23.6%.

As a policy to eliminate and restrict food choice, the report recommends new taxes and charges, rationing, and in extreme cases - withdrawing products from sale.

Joe Healy said proteins from beef and dairy are an important part of a balanced diet.

For Ireland, the food and drink industry is worth approximately €12 billion, and this is heavily contributed to by beef and dairy production.

This would involved measures such as prohibiting land clearing, restoring degraded land, lifting fishing subsidies, and banning fishing from at least 10% of marine areas. In high incomes countries, campaigns were needed to improve shopping habits and food storage, and help consumers understand "best before" and "use by" dates.

He added that we are, at the minute, in a "catastrophic situation".

It has just delivered 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.

They stated that this could not be achieved voluntarily.

Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London said the report "reveals the full agenda of nanny-state campaigners".

It "recommends" that the Irish also limit our calorie intake from potatoes to just 39 calories per day, and just 78 calories from all vegetables combined. They note the recommendations are compatible with the US dietary guidelines, which say to limit saturated fat to 10 percent of calories.

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