The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health brought together more than 30 world-leading scientists from across the globe to define a scientific consensus on what defines a healthy and sustainable diet.The Commission has now delivered the first full scientific review of what constitutes a healthy diet from a sustainable food system, and which actions can support and speed up food system transformation.
Transformation to healthy diets from sustainable food systems is necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, and scientific targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production are needed to guide a Great Food Transformation. This Commission brought together 19 Commissioners and 18 coauthors from 16 countries in various fields of human health, agriculture, political sciences, and environmental sustainability to develop global scientific targets based on the best evidence available for healthy diets and sustainable food production.
A universal healthy reference diet was quantitatively described to provide a basis for estimating the health and environmental effects of adopting an alternative diet to standard current diets, many of which are high in unhealthy foods. Scientific targets for a healthy reference diet were based on extensive literature on foods, dietary patterns, and health outcomes.
This healthy reference dietlargely consisted of whole grains, together with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and unsaturated oils. A low to moderate amount of seafood and poultry was included, while no or a low quantity of refined grains were advised, together with added sugar, starchy vegetables, red and processed meat.
Using several approaches, global adoption of the reference dietary pattern would provide major health benefits, with a high level of certainty, including a large reduction in total mortality. The Commission integrates the healthy diet with global scientific targets for sustainable food systems, and aims to provide scientific boundaries to reduce environmental degradation caused by food production at all scales.
Application of this framework to future projections of world development indicated that food systems can provide healthy diets for an estimated global population of about 10 billion people by 2050 and remain within a safe operating space.
When it comes to specific and quantitative recommendations, consumption of whole grains was emphasized. No less than 232 grams of whole grains per day were included to account for a large part of the energy in the healthy, sustainable diet described in this report.
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Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems
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Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems: Food, Planet, Health