15 May 2023
Shifting from unhealthy diets to the planetary health diet can prevent 11 million premature adult deaths per year and drive the transition toward a sustainable global food system by 2050 that ensures healthy food for all, within planetary boundaries.
A couple of years ago, an international commission of scientists delved into the topic of food choice and climate change (their report, , was the tipping point in my decision to specialize in this area). They found that while changes in food production practices could reduce future (2050) agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions by about 10%, and halving food waste could save another 5%, increasing adoption of plant-based diets could reduce emissions by up to 80%.
We’ve known for decades that a plant-rich diet can reduce incidence of our most deadly chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes and cancer) by close to 80%, so it seemed serendipitous. Yet food continues to be left out of the sustainability discussion.
More recently, EAT produced a new report, , to encourage the G20 countries (which include the USA, and have an outsized impact on climate change) to update their dietary guidelines and encourage public adoption of the Planetary Health Diet. You don’t have to wait for the USDA to catch up, though. You can start right now with a way of eating that’s a win-win…for our personal health, for the planet and for all of humanity. Here’s the visual form and my summary:
The original EAT-Lancet report acknowledged that transforming the global food system requires buy-in from many stakeholders, including consumers, policy-makers, farmers and grocers. It's up to all of us to create an environment of healthy and sustainable diets for all.
The Planetary Health Diet may not be entirely your responsibility, but consider it your right. It’s opportune that sustainable choices keep us healthy - from our food and water to our air and soil. If you’re thinking those choices are difficult or unappealing, you haven’t spent enough time in the kitchen with me!