Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Scientists reveal 'ideal diet' for peoples' and planet's health

The diet encourages cooking with ingredients such as whole grains and beans The diet encourages cooking with ingredients such as whole grains and beans
Ben Pena | 23 January, 2019, 21:43

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health brings together more than 30 world-leading scientists to reach a scientific consensus that defines a healthy and sustainable diet.

"It is doable but it will take nothing less than global agricultural revolution".

Lang told the Daily Mail: 'The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are now getting this seriously wrong.

"Dietary guidelines include filling half of each plate with vegetables and fruits, and the other half with mostly whole grains, plant protein, unsaturated plant oils and "(optionally) modest amounts of animal sources of protein (fish, meat and dairy products)".

"The food group ranges we suggest allow flexibility to accommodate various food types, agricultural systems, cultural traditions, individual dietary preferences - including numerous omnivore, vegetarian and vegan diets", Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard University and the panel's co-lead, said in a media release.

Daily poultry consumption would be confined to 29 grams - equivalent to one and a half nuggets - and fish to 28 grams, a quarter of a medium sized fillet. Consumption of nuts, fruits, legumes and vegetables will need to increase more than twofold.

To enable a healthy global population, the team of scientists created a global reference diet, that they call the "planetary health diet", which is an ideal daily meal plan for people over the age of 2, that they believe will help reduce chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as environmental degradation.

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

At a production level, government must reorient priorities away from simply producing high quantities of food to producing healthy food that also enhances biodiversity, they say.

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"The report also backs matching food production to land capability, which means that New Zealand's expertise in producing sustainable, lean grass-fed red meat gives us a competitive advantage".

More wholegrain foods such as barley and brown rice are needed, but starchy vegetables like potatoes and cassava are limited to 50 grammes a day.

At least halve food losses and waste, in line with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), on both the production side and the consumption side.

Global targets will need to be applied locally.

The commission recommended that agriculture cut red meat production by 65%, Fanzo said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

"We expected these attacks", said Lang.

"New Zealand is already adopting numerous strategies recommended by the report's authors including committing to healthy diet goals, reorienting agricultural priorities to producing high quality healthy food in a sustainable way and supporting biodiversity", says Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Chief Insight Officer, Jeremy Baker. The report says people in North America eat more than six times the recommended amount of red meat, while people in South Asia eat half of what they should. Average population intake in the United Kingdom is now below this figure.

Findings from the experts are reported in the latest issue of The Lancet medical journal.

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