The EAT-Lancet Commission brings together more than 30 world-leading scientists from across the globe to reach a scientific consensus that defines a healthy and sustainable diet. They recently released their first report that outlines what a healthy diet from a sustainable food system looks like. They call it the Planetary Health Diet. And it might look familiar.
What is the planetary health diet?
The Planetary Health Diet is a flexitarian diet, that is largely plant-based with the option for modest amounts of animal foods. If you were to look at a plate model, like the one in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you would see half of the plate filled with fruits and vegetables. The remainder would have whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, plant oils and limited amounts of dairy foods, animal proteins and added sugars.
Why a planetary health diet?
According to the EAT-Lancet report, “Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.” Unfortunately, our current eating style, paired with the trends in our global population does not appear to be sustainable. Changes are needed in the way we produce and consume food to ensure healthy diets and sustainable food systems are available for the estimated global population of 10 billion people by 2050.
How to get started?
While it is called a diet, it is more of a framework. Two people could be following the Planetary Health Diet and eat very differently. The goal is to follow strategies that support the health of people and planet while incorporating personal, regional or cultural preferences. The first step for most people is to get more fruits and vegetables as they should make up half of the diet. The types you choose should reflect your preferences and what is available locally. Swapping some plant-based proteins like legumes, nuts or seeds for traditional animal proteins is another good step. While vegetarian and vegan diets will fit into the Planetary Health framework, it is not necessary to choose this way of eating. Simply increasing your plant-based foods and reducing animal foods can make a positive impact on your health and the health of the planet.
Read more about the EAT-Lancet Commission at eatforum.org.
Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health available at https://eatforum.org/eat-lancet-commission/