Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Sustainable Food Production on the Menu

By Ian Lowe

A scientific report has set targets for a healthy diet derived from sustainable food production.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The leading international medical journal, The Lancet, recently published a report (https://goo.gl/hvd966) calling for radical changes to diet and food production. The findings of the EAT-Lancet Commission provide scientific targets for a healthy diet from sustainable food production. The study was motivated by evidence that current eating is causing ill-health and stretching planetary boundaries.

The 3-year project brought together 37 experts from 16 countries. It concluded that increased food production in recent decades has reduced infant mortality rates and improved life expectancy, but there are still about 800 million people who don’t get enough to eat. At the same time, the global health benefits are being offset by a shift toward unhealthy diets. In simple terms, many people in the affluent world aren’t eating enough fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, but we are eating too much meat, sugar and refined starches.

The Commission concluded that global adoption of its recommendations for healthy diets would cut consumption of red meat and sugars to less than half the present level, while doubling the amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes consumed. With that shift in eating patterns, future food production could be contained within the relevant planetary boundaries.

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The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.