Human Diet is Causing Deadly Damage to the Planet Earth
At present, nearly one billion people across the world are hungry and another two billion are eating too much of the wrong foods which cause epidemics such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
The way in which a human being on earth produces and consumes food is deadly and can be catastrophic to the earth in near future and therefore it needs to be changed immediately in order to avoid millions of deaths says a study, recently published in the medical journal, The Lancet.
At present, nearly one billion people across the world are hungry and another two billion are eating too much of the wrong foods which cause epidemics such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Unhealthy diets also account for nearly 11 million avoidable premature deaths every year, according to the most recent Global Disease Burden report.
“We are in a catastrophic situation”, co-author Tim Lang, who is a professor at the University of London and policy lead for the EAT-Lancet Commission that compiled the recently published a 50-page study.
The key to solve this crisis is by cutting half as much sugar and red meat consumption and by increasing twice as many vegetables, fruits and nuts intake, the group of 36 researchers concluded in the study.
Agriculture has transformed half the planet’s land surface and is using about 70 percent of the global fresh water supply. “To have any chance of feeding 10 billion people in 2050 within planetary boundaries, the limits on Earth's capacity to absorb human activity, we must adopt a healthy diet, slash food waste, and invest in technologies that reduce environmental impacts”, said co-author Johan Rockstrom, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Impact Research.
Johan Rockstrom also said, “It is doable but it will take nothing less than global agricultural revolution”. The great food transformation mentioned in the study suggests a template human diet of about 2500 calories per day. Tim Lang adds, “We are not saying everyone has to eat in the same way. But broadly especially in the rich world it means a reduction of meat and dairy and a major increase in plant consumption”.
The diet allows for about seven grams of red meat per day or up to 14 grams. A typical hamburger patty is about 125 to 150 grams. This means many rich nations and also the emerging ones have to consider a drastic five-to-ten-fold reduction. Dairy is also limited to about one cup (250 grams) of whole milk or its equivalent in cheese or yoghurt per day and only one or two eggs per week.
At the same time, the diet calls for a more than 100 percent increase in legumes such as peas and lentils along with vegetables, fruits and nuts. Grains are considered to be less healthy sources of nutrients.
This food revolution now only be possible at the policy level by the respective governments of the world, as World Business Council for Sustainable Development said in a statement, “We need governments to help accelerate the change by aligning national dietary guidelines with healthy and sustainable requirements, and repurposing agricultural subsidies” and in order to save the planet and human race, measures must be taken urgently.