Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumption and diets

The type, quantity and formats of foods we eat vary considerably over time and space. A person’s consumption of food is rarely a matter solely (or even largely) of personal conscious choice. Instead, it is affected by such wide-ranging factors as cultural identity and taboos, food availability and price, genetics, legislation, technological innovation and marketing campaigns. Governments and civil society organisations have long been promoting healthy diets to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases both at a global and national scale and the concept of ‘sustainable healthy diets’ – diets that have lower environmental impacts but fulfil nutritional requirements –  is very slowly gaining ground.

24 March 2017

In this policy briefing “A Healthy and Sustainable Food Future Policy recommendations to embed sustainability in the Eatwell Guide and wider UK food policy” the Eating Better Alliance and Medact call on Public Health England (PHE), government more broadly and health professionals to do more to promote healthy and sustainable diets and to ensure that dietary recommendations underpin food and farming policy.

Brian, Food choices, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0.
15 March 2017

In a blog-piece for The Conversation, Duane Mellor (Associate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Canberra) and Cathy Knight-Agarwal (Clinical Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Canberra) argue that it is time to rethink the purpose of dietary guidelines both in terms of content and how people adopt (or ignore) their messages.

15 March 2017

This report from the UK free market think tank Institute of Economic Affairs claims that healthy food is actually cheaper than ‘junk food’. In drawing this conclusion the IEA also states that taxes on unhealthy foods (consumed as they say disproportionately by people with low incomes) is unlikely to be enough to change consumer behaviour and will be regressive - it will hit poorer people the hardest. 

Image credit: with wind, 400kcal diet, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 March 2017

This paper looks at link between diets, health and climate and particularly the effects of adopting healthier diets in the US on the risk of disease, health care costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

28 February 2017

In a recent public survey commissioned by the Global Food Security (GFS) programme, many British adults say they recognise that the food system is a key contributor to climate change and that they would change their diets to avoid negative future climate impacts.

Image credit: Tribp on Flickr, Creative commons licence
28 February 2017

Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s environment minister, has recently announced that her ministry will no longer be serving meat, fish or meat-derived products at official functions citing environmental concerns and a desire to serve as a “role model” on environmental and sustainability issues.

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Photo credit: Amy West, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
28 February 2017

This paper argues that the strength of the linkages between the ‘Human System’ and the Earth system warrants a new paradigm of modeling which incorporates key factors in one system as variables of a model of the other.

Photo credit: Migle, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 February 2017

This paper provides an overview of dietary guidance for pulses, discussing their nutritional composition and health benefits as well as the evolution of the way in which the USDA’s dietary guidelines categorise pulses. The paper was published in a special issue on The Potential of Pulses to Meet Today’s Health Challenges: Staple Foods in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Photo credit: Vincent-Lin, Fish, Flickr, Creative Commons License
8 February 2017

This systematic review considers how seafood is currently incorporated and assessed in the sustainable diets literature and examines the barriers to more adequate inclusion of seafood within research on sustainable diets. 

17 January 2017

This new book by Maurie J. Cohen examines how the system of mass consumption is changing; discusses popular trends such as the sharing economy, the Maker Movement, and economic localization; and describes the role that worker-consumer cooperatives could play in actively changing the current paradigm. 

10 January 2017

Tara Garnett (FCRN) and Sue Dibb (Eating Better) spoke on BBC World Service’s Inquiry programme about food consumption in relation to climate change.

Photo credit: Taryn, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
19 December 2016

This randomized controlled study looked at how obese Norwegian men were affected by a diet very high in the intake of total and saturated fat, as compared to one high in carbohydrates, while controlling for intake of energy, protein, and polyunsaturated fats and food types. 

15 December 2016

Twenty-four cross-party European parliament members, together with HSI’s Planting Fresh Ideas, wrote a letter to the European Commission President, First Vice President, and Commissioners, with policy recommendations for reducing EU consumption of animal-based foods.

Photo credit: Masahiro Ihara, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
17 November 2016

This paper by FCRN member Lukasz Aleksandrowicz and colleagues consolidates current evidence on the environmental impacts of dietary change, finding environmental benefits are possible from shifting typical Western diets to a variety of alternative dietary patterns. The results also highlight that there is still complexity in defining environmentally sustainable diets, though moderate reductions in meat consumption (particularly ruminant meat) replaced by plant-based foods, seem to reliably reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, land use, and water use, as well as improve health.

Photo credit: Yoppy, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
14 November 2016

Given the increasing popularity of vegan diets, a group of German researchers has created guidelines for chefs in public catering facilities. These take into account nutritional requirements.

Photo credit: ItzaFineDay, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
2 November 2016

Researchers at CGIAR/CCAFS have written a report about different demand side measures aimed at changing food consumption so as to reduce GHG emissions. In particular, they placed their analysis in the context of the Paris climate agreement which aims to limit the increase of global temperatures due to anthropogenic climate change to below 2ºC.

Photo: Susan Lucas Hoffman, Greek Salad, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0)
24 October 2016

At a time when interest in the sustainability of food is increasing, the need for well-defined, interdisciplinary metrics of the sustainability of diets is evident. In this study, a group of researchers from Michigan performed a systematic literature review of empirical research studies on sustainable diets to identify the components of sustainability that were measured and the methods applied to do so.

17 October 2016

This short perspective in the journal Science reviews how the rise of urbanization is transforming food systems in many areas, and argues for further research on this topic.

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