Looking for a new eating regimen that helps you do good for the environment? Enter the Planetary Health Diet, created by the EAT-Lancet commission. The scientists behind this diet (a group of 37 international experts from food, farming, and climate-change backgrounds), claim that, if people around the world were to adopt their guidelines, the benefits would be three-fold: helping to give 10 billion starving people better access to food, to cut obesity rates, and to prevent long-term damage to our environment.
So, what exactly is this heroic plan that's here to save the world? According to a report from the UN, the world population is projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, and world leaders are desperately looking for answers as to how we can feed this ever-growing population. According to a report from the Guardian, our global food is responsible for a third of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions, and has resulted in the two extremes of obesity in some countries and famine in others. The Planetary Health Diet aims to remedy these problems by providing a cheaper, healthier, and more environmentally sustainable diet for everyone who choses to follow it.
The requirements for the Planetary Health Diet differ depending on where you live, but there are also some global objectives. According to the Guardian, global consumption of red meat and sugar will have to be cut in half, "while vegetables, fruit, pulses, and nuts must double." The Guardian then breaks down into the specifics:
"North Americans need to eat 84 percent less red meat but six times more beans and lentils. For Europeans, eating 77 percent less red meat and 15 times more nuts and seeds meets the guidelines."
The Guardian reports that the new regimen, which will be largely plant based, comprises an average of 2,500 calories per day. Those following the guidelines will be allowed a daily intake around 7g of red meat, which works out at a small burger a week or one large steak per month, the BBC explains. For chicken, its 29g (which the Spectator likens to one and a half nuggets per day — is there no mercy!). So you can forget about having second helpings of your favourite meat dishes, because the majority of your protein will come from pulses and legumes.
But its not all doom and gloom. The Planetary Health Diet allows for 250g of dairy per day, the BBC reports. That is one glass of milk or a few slices of cheese. Yep, I said it, cheese. So you can relax and unwind at the end of the day, with brie, camembert, cheddar, or any cheese of your choosing. Amen. Good for the soul, and the planet!
The Guardian reports that Walter Willet, one of the leaders of the EAT-Lancet commission said: “We are not talking about a deprivation diet here; we are talking about a way of eating that can be healthy, flavourful, and enjoyable."
It appears that if everyone participated in the Planetary Health Diet, we would be able to improve overall global health, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and put in place a global food system that works for everyone, including mother nature. Sounds good to me.