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.
Canada’s new dietary guidelines include environmental considerations as well as health, suggesting that diets higher in plant-based foods generally help to conserve “soil, water and air”.
The latest issue of The Land magazine, of which FCRN member Simon Fairlie is an editor, has a 40-page section on meat-eating and veganism, with about 20 articles and short features representing a variety of viewpoints.
The EAT-Lancet Commission sets out a “universal healthy reference diet” that it argues will allow the food system to remain within the planetary boundaries while feeding 10 billion people by 2050. The suggested diet includes a variety of plant-based foods and low amounts of animal-based foods.
Insects, seaweed, microalgae, cultured meat, mycoprotein and mussels are among the nine ‘future foods’ discussed in this paper, co-authored by FCRN members Hanna Tuomisto and Hannah van Zanten, which compares the nutritional profiles and environmental impacts of these foods with conventional plant- and animal-sourced foods.
The Dutch government-funded healthy eating agency Voedingscentrum has launched a new campaign encouraging men who eat a lot of meat to reduce their consumption. FCRN member Corné van Dooren says that men, on average, could eat 400g less meat per week to meet guidelines, while women could eat 100g less.
This report finds that the ten largest US food and beverage manufacturers lack comprehensive strategies for effectively addressing obesity and diet-related diseases. Assessing a portfolio of the manufacturers’ products, the report classifies only 30% as “healthy”.
A special issue of the journal Science includes several review papers on important questions in the connection of diets and health, including dietary fat, gut microbiota, fasting and diets for athletes.
UK supermarket Tesco and wildlife NGO WWF have set up a four-year partnership to work on reducing the environmental impacts of food. They aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, according to a metric that they will develop.
UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has started selling edible insects in 250 of its stores, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so. The barbecue-flavour roasted crickets are made by Eat Grub and contain 68 grams of protein per 100 grams of dried crickets. Eat Grub founder Shami Radia told Sky News, “We're on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn't be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”
This report by the UK Health Forum argues that the UK’s current food system does not support the UK government’s healthy eating goals. For example, many subsidies support animals products and relatively few support fruit, vegetables and pulses, while healthy foods often cost more than unhealthy foods.
A hard Brexit, where the UK trades with other nations on the terms and tariffs set out by the World Trade Organisation after leaving the European Union, could cause an additional 5,600 deaths in the UK, mainly due to reduced consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts, according to a working paper published by the Oxford Martin School.
The global agricultural system doesn’t produce enough fruit, vegetables and protein to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s population, according to this paper. Meanwhile, grains, fats and sugars are overproduced, relative to what is needed for a healthy diet (defined in this paper as a diet in accordance with the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate (HHEP)).
WWF-UK has produced a report that maps multi-stakeholder initiatives in the food system by commodities, geographies, issues and stakeholders involved. The report is aimed at helping initiatives identify the gaps where they can make a unique contribution.
A combination of measures including a shift towards plant-based diets, halving food waste and technological changes in agriculture (such as more efficient fertiliser application, feed additives and changes in irrigation) could significantly reduce the food system’s environmental impacts relative to 2050 projections and potentially even reduce impacts below today’s levels, according to a new paper.