Showing results for: Dietary guidelines
This report quantifies the losses of reactive nitrogen from EU agriculture and food systems by food type, and assesses the impact of alternative diets (especially reduced meat) on the environment (through nitrogen emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and land use) and human health. Reactive nitrogen losses associated with agriculture refer mainly to the release of ammonia and nitrous oxide into the air, and nitrates into the ground. Nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, and nitrate excesses in soil can lead to water pollution.
The FCRN has previously reported on the controversy over the development of the 2015 US dietary guidelines, and in particular the vociferous debate as to whether they should include sustainability considerations.
This paper quantifies what the environmental impacts would be if the typical US diet were to shift in line with the USDA dietary recommendations. The paper has created a lot of interest and debate since it shows that shifting towards healthier diets in some cases can increase the energy, emission and water intensity of the diet. This is why we wanted to provide a more extensive summary and some commentary below. Please do read, share and add your own comments.
Over 75 top nutrition scientists and medical experts gathered in Boston in October 2015 at the Finding Common Ground Conference, convened by the non-profit Oldways to try to agree on principles for a healthy diet (primarily aimed at a U.S. audience). Oldways is a food and nutrition education organization aiming to inspire healthy eating through cultural food traditions and lifestyles. The meeting was attended by a diverse range of experts, many vocal proponents of particular types of diets (vegan, paleo, low-fat, Mediterranean etc.) and is described to have led to some heated debates.
This paper looks at public awareness of the environmental impacts of meat and attitudes to reducing meat consumption. The study, carried out in Scotland, was based on focus group discussions and individual interviews and tried to understand the cultural and social values associated with eating meat. It found a lack of awareness of the association between meat consumption and climate change, and suggested that individual dietary change will be difficult to achieve without addressing these values and beliefs.
In this paper researchers recommend taking a broader "systems" approach to food policy in order to tackle public health issues as far-ranging as climate change and antibiotic use in food animal production. Three examples are given of a food systems approach to food policy: farm-to-school programs, incorporating sustainability into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and antibiotic use in food animal production.
This paper by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) suggests that as much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year. The paper shows that the majority of the waste is produced mainly at the consumer stage. The waste issue adds another layer of pressure on fish stocks and the global seafood supply that are already seriously threatened by overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and the use of fish for other purposes besides human consumption.
It has been announced that the U.S. will not be incorporating sustainability into the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (which are updated every five years). According to a blog-post written by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS Secretary) and Tom Vilsack, Department of Agriculture USDA Secretary, the US government does “not believe that the 2015 DGAs are the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation about sustainability.” The two argue that although the final recommendations are still being drafted, the final guidelines should remain within the mandate in the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA); to provide “nutritional and dietary information and guidelines”… “based on the preponderance of the scientific and medical knowledge.”
This second annual nutrition report by IFPRI is a comprehensive summary and scorecard on both global and country level progress on all forms of nutrition. It covers nutrition status and program coverage—as well as underlying determinants such as food security; water, sanitation, and hygiene; resource allocations; and institutional and policy changes—globally (for 193 countries). The 2015 edition highlights the critical relationship between climate change and nutrition and the pivotal role business can play.
FCRN has previously highlighted the new Swedish dietary guidelines in a blog-post, “Environmental concerns now in Sweden’s newly launched dietary guidelines” by the Swedish researcher and FCRN collaborator Elin Röös, where she also talks to representatives from the Swedish Food Agency about the challenges involved in writing the new guidelines. This report is now available in full in English.
This Bloomberg article and video interview discusses the new recommendations published to inform the development of the 2015 US dietary guidelines.
An article in Beverage Daily covers the recent FCRN-Chatham House (EAT-funded) report “Policies and actions to shift eating patterns: What works.” The article highlights a key conclusion of the report:
The 2015 USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has published a report that sets out its revised dietary recommendations to encourage Americans to eat more healthily, and this time the recommendations also take account of environmental sustainability considerations. The report, Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Advisory Report) will be reviewed by the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal government will determine how it will use the information in the Advisory Report as the government develops the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 to be released later this year.
This new series of papers from the Lancet summarises the latest available knowledge on obesity and what can be done to address the problem. The series introduction describes how today’s food environments exploits people’s biological, psychological, social, and economic vulnerabilities, making it easier for them to eat unhealthy foods. This in turn reinforces preferences and demands for foods of poor nutritional quality, furthering the unhealthy food environments. The authors call for regulatory actions from governments and increased efforts from industry and civil society to break these vicious cycles.
Video recordings of the talks from the City Food Symposium of December 2014, hosted by City University London, are now available online. You will find downloadable files of the speakers’ presentations on the City University London website.