Human Health Depends on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems

Research Summary by Sonja Connor, MS, RDN, LD

Unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality than does unsafe sex and alcohol, drug, and tobacco use combined, according to a new report from the EAT-Lancet Commission. Achieving healthy diets from sustainable food systems for everyone will require substantial shifts towards healthy dietary patterns, large reductions in food losses and waste, and major improvements in food production practices.  This will not happen without people changing how they view and engage with food systems and that the change in thinking has to recognize the inextricable link between human health and environmental sustainability.   The EAT-Lancet Commission (19 Commissioners and 18 coauthors from 16 countries) developed global scientific targets based on the best evidence available for healthy diets and sustainable food production.  The healthy reference diet largely consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and unsaturated oils, includes a low to moderate amount of seafood and poultry, and includes no or a low quantity of red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables.  The Lancet 2019;393(10170):447-492.

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