- A research group recommends a nutritional plan designed to protect both human and earth health.
- Meat and sugar consumption would have to be cut in half, and the consumption of fruit, vegetables and nuts would be roughly doubled.
- Humanity has about a generation of time to adapt its diet and agriculture accordingly.
Seven grams of beef per day. The recipe should be that simple, not only for a healthier life, but also for a healthy planet. A group of experts has now put together a kind of nutrition plan for the world. Explained goal: to nourish a growing population healthy, without destroying the planet.
Of course, not every person has to consume exactly one micro steak every day to do something good for themselves and for the earth. The obscure-sounding crowd is one of many calculated values agreed upon by the 37-member panel of the EAT-Lancet Commission, a collaboration between the privately-funded food and environmental organization The EAT in Oslo and the medical journal The Lancet, For three years, experts in nutrition, agriculture, ecology, economics, and policy advice have sat together to create this list of ingredients, with a view to both the health of the individual and of the entire planet.
By 2050, the world population is expected to grow to ten billion people. To feed each and every one of them healthily, the calculated amounts of food would be needed. According to the Commission, producing them should be ecologically and sustainably possible, provided that the agricultural system is rebuilt accordingly.
The report states that already today three billion people are malnourished, more than 800 million people do not have enough to eat, more than two billion people are overweight. The number of diabetics has doubled in the last three decades. At the same time, food production is responsible for a large-scale destruction of the environment. Agriculture and food industries account for about one third of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, consuming huge land areas and water masses. The two issues, human health and the integrity of Earth's ecosystem, would like to be solved by a commission from the Commission.
Up to 11.6 million nutritional deaths should be avoided with the Global Nutrition Plan. In addition to the beef bite are also on it:
- seven grams of pork a day
- 250 grams of milk or dairy products
- about 230 grams of grain
- 50 grams of potatoes or other starchy tubers
- about 0.2 eggs
- 25 grams of peanuts
- 25 grams of soy
- 50 grams of beans or lentils
- a touch of pork fat – but no butter
With vegetables, there are even color recommendations:
- 100 grams should be dark green like spinach or chard
- 100 grams of red or orange, such as beetroot, red cabbage or carrots – also because of the health-promoting phytochemicals that contain these varieties
- At the last vegetable meal there is free choice.
- Add 200 grams of fruit
Altogether, the body provides about 2500 kilocalories per day, plentiful for mid-sized, halfway active adults. In some countries, this would be an extremely lush intake, for serious workers certainly low-fat and not only that it can be seen that the recommendations can provide more than one orientation.
Whether this single food would be equally healthy for all people, however, the Commission leaves open. It does not respond to genetic differences of the population groups. After all, the Commission specifies for most ingredients an environmental and health-compatible range, for beef, for example, the amount is between 0 and 15 grams per day, beans: 0 to 100 grams, fruit: 100 to 300 grams – just to a few examples call. This allows enough flexibility to accommodate all dietary styles, farming systems and cultural traditions, says Harvard University Commissioner and nutrition expert Walter Willett. If you want to eat vegetarian food, the meat is gone and increases the other protein components, as do people with vegan diet or with food allergies, which for health reasons have to do without individual recommended foods.
Strategies for change
However, if these averages were complied with, then, according to the Commission's calculations, the world's population should be able to be fed in 2050 without wanting food so that the planet will not be hurt more than it is now. A few figures show just how difficult this is: In North America, about six and a half times the recommended meat ration is currently eaten, and only half in Asia. All countries consume too much starchy vegetables such as potatoes, in sub-Saharan Africa seven and a half times as much as recommended. Overall, the consumption of red meat and sugar must be halved and the consumption of nuts, fruits and vegetables doubled.
To achieve this, the experts propose five strategies:
- Make the population enthusiastic about the healthy diet. To do this, the recommended foods must be made available and affordable in all countries.
- Agriculture should shift from mass to class: rather than producing large quantities, it should produce healthy food.
- Farmers should use water and fertilizer more effectively and develop new organic farming methods that allow more biodiversity.
- The use of land, seas and waters must be rearranged. The expansion of agricultural land should no longer be detrimental to natural ecosystems.
- The waste of the food industry should be at least halved.
To achieve all that by 2050 is not an easy task, the Commission acknowledges in its report. But quite feasible.