Scientists say humans at the global level must change diet for a healthy life and healthy planet

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We should use half as much sugar and red meat, and twice as much vegetables, fruits and nuts, a consortium of three dozen researchers concluded. At this time, nearly a billion people are hungry and another two billion are eating too much of the wrong foods, causing epidemics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. At the same time the global food system is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases determining biodiversity loss. “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. It is asked a reduction of meat and dairy, and a major increase in plant consumption. A such diet should allow for about 7g of red meat per day. A typical hamburger patty, by comparison, is 125g to 150g.

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It takes at least 5kg of grain to produce 1kg of meat. Other limits should be imposed, to about one cup (250g) 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 per cent increase in legumes such as peas and lentils, along with vegetables, fruits and nuts. “For the first time in 200,000 years of human history, we are severely out of sync with the planet and Nature,” the study concluded. “We need governments to help accelerate the change by aligning national dietary guidelines with healthy and sustainable requirements, and repurposing agricultural subsidies,” the World Business Council for Sustainable Development said in a statement.

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