What is a planetary diet?



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January 19, 2019 07:23
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Updated January 19, 2019 08:13

He promised to save lives and feed 10 billion people without causing massive damage to the planet.

The media has dubbed it the "planetary health diet" and that is a new proposal to protect the Earth from a group of more than 30 scientists from various regions of 16 countries in the world, published in prestigious journals Lancet.

Even though this regime does not completely eliminate meat or dairy products, it requires major changes in what we put on our plates and switches to foods that we rarely eat.

What changes should I make?

If you eat meat every day, then that is the first big step.

For red meat, you have to reduce the dose to a hamburger a week or a big steak a month. And that's all.

You can serve several servings of meat or chicken in a week, but from these herbs the rest of your protein.

Therefore, researchers recommend a good portion of walnuts and nuts every day.

Also eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables, which should occupy half of each dish.

However, other proposed sacrifices are associated with a reduction in the intake of vegetables with starch, such as potatoes or cassava, which is widely consumed in Africa and in parts of the Caribbean and Latin America.

What is the detailed diet?

This must be the composition per day:

50 gr beans

Beans, beans, lentils and other nuts. 75 gr

28 gr fish

Eggs: 13 gr (which is equivalent to almost one per week)

Meat: 14 gr red meat and 29 gr chicken

Carbohydrates: 232 grams of grains (such as bread and rice) and 50 grams of vegetables rich in starch

Dairy products: 250 gr (equivalent to a glass of milk)

Vegetables: 300 gr, and fruits: 200 gr

This diet also allows consumption of 31 grams of sugar and about 50 grams of oil such as olive oil.

Will it feel terrible?

Walter Willet, one of the researchers at Harvard University who participated in this study, assured us that we would have no taste problems and that, after childhood on a farm eating three servings of red meat a day, now is quite in line with the planet's health diet this.

"There is tremendous variation there, you can take that food and put it together in thousands of different ways, we are not talking about diet deficiencies here, this is a healthy, flexible and enjoyable diet," he said.

These are some food dishes that meet the rules of the planet's health diet. Photo: MOLLY KATZEN

These are some food dishes that meet the rules of the planet's health diet. Photo: MOLLY KATZEN

Can it be applied to real life or just fantasy?

This plan requires dietary changes in almost every corner of the world.

Europe and America need to cut red meat on a large scale; East Asia, fish, and Africa, vegetables with starch.

"Humanity has never tried to change the food system at this scale and speed," said Line Gordon, assistant professor at the Stockholm Resilience Center, the agency that coordinates the publication of the report.

According to the report, the consumption of meat and sugar must be reduced by 50%, while consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and nuts must double. Photo: GETTY PICTURE

According to the report, the consumption of meat and sugar must be reduced by 50%, while consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and nuts must double. Photo: GETTY PICTURE

"Whether it's fantasy or not, fantasy doesn't have to be bad … it's time to dream of a better world," he said.

Who came with this?

A group of 37 scientists from all over the world met as part of the EAT-Lancet commission.

They are a mix of experts with knowledge ranging from agriculture to climate change and nutrition. It took two years to find results recently published in the British medical journal The Lancet.

Will this save lives?

The world population reached 7 billion in 2011 and is now around 7.7 billion

It is expected that this figure will reach 10 billion around 2050 and will continue to increase.

One of the problems with this population increase is how to feed them.

The researchers say that this diet will prevent around 11 million people die every year.

Reducing food waste is key to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. Photo: GETTY PICTURE

Reducing food waste is key to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. Photo: GETTY PICTURE

That number is largely due to a reduction in diseases associated with unhealthy diets, such as heart attacks, strokes, and several types of cancer, the main causes of death in developed countries.

Can this diet save the planet?

The aim of the researchers is to serve food that serves as a basis for feeding more people, while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding species extinction and conserving water.

However, changing the diet is not enough.

To make this work, it is also necessary to halve food waste and increase the amount of food produced on current agricultural land.

How bad is agriculture for the planet?

Matt McGrath, BBC environmental correspondent

Land use to grow food and forestry accounts for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, about the same amount as electricity and heating, and far more than all of the planet's trains, airplanes and cars.

As you take a closer look at the environmental impact of the food sector, you can see that meat and dairy products are a major factor: worldwide, livestock represents between 14.5 and 18% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans.

Agriculture is also one of the main contributors to methane and nitrous oxide emissions.

In addition, this is an important source of air pollution with agricultural ammonia, one of the main causes of fine particles, which according to the World Health Organization is a threat to health throughout the world.

Similarly, when it comes to water, agriculture and food production, it is one of the biggest threats, because they consume 70% of the world's freshwater sources for irrigation.

How you eat and drink has an impact on the environment

To find out the climate impact of what you eat and drink, select one of our 34 elements of the calculator and show how often you consume it.

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