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.

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.

7 December 2016

The FCRN and the Food Foundation have jointly produced new report based on a meeting, held November 2016, on the topic of metrics for sustainable healthy diets for the food industry. While a range of sustainability metrics for this industry already exists, none comprehensively measure the progress (or otherwise) that food companies are taking to foster a public shift towards more sustainable and healthy eating patterns (SHEPs). The meeting report considers whether further work on such a set of metrics would be of use.

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.

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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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11 October 2016

This study estimates the environmental impacts of what it terms discretionary foods - foods and drinks that do not provide nutrients that the body particularly needs. It finds that these foods account for 33-39% of food-related footprints in Australia.

Photo: Jaume Escofet, Beef, FLickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
28 September 2016

The Danish Council on Ethics is calling on the Danish government to regulate the consumption of what it calls ‘climate damaging foods’ by placing taxes on those products with the highest associated emissions.

Image: the research paper’s appendix
20 September 2016

Psychological research has shown that people often don’t make decisions on a rational basis, but rather do so heuristically - based on rules of thumb - that can systematically bias choices. This has important implications when it comes to promoting the sustainable consumption of food.

Photo: Joshua Rappeneker, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

This month’s issue of Discover Society is entirely dedicated to the topic of food and eating. Tara Garnett has contributed with an article on sustainable healthy eating patterns.

Photo: Flickr, Neeta Lind, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

Recent research has shown that some foods have a considerably higher emissions-footprints than do others and that changes in average dietary consumption patterns towards lower-emissions foods, has potential as a climate change mitigation measure.

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