A report attempting to overhaul the universal “diet” says a hamburger a week is about as much red meat you should be consuming. Eggs should be limited to less than four a week and dairy, one serving per day.
A panel of nutrition, agriculture, and environmental experts recommend a plant-based diet. This recommendation stems from many published studies that link red meat to health problems and livestock farming to environmental issues.
The report highlights the deadly effects meat production is having on the environment. “Producing red meat takes up land and feed to raise cattle, which also emit the greenhouse gas methane.”
The report was organized by a Swedish-based nonprofit seeking to improve the food system. They believe a “great food transformation” is necessary by 2050. They also believe their recommended diet could be inclusive to all cultures around the world.
Of course a major obstacle is convincing cultures who are traditionally meat and cheese heavy, to make the shift.
“The diet encourages whole grains, beans, fruits and most vegetables, and says to limit added sugars, refined grains such as white rice and starches like potatoes and cassava. It says red meat consumption on average needs to be slashed by half globally, though the necessary changes vary by region and reductions would need to be more dramatic in richer countries like the United States.”
Advice to limit red meat isn’t a new concept and has been linked to lowering high saturated fats. However, the meat and dairy industries argue that their products carry important nutrients necessary for a healthy diet.
A report conducted by the United Nations, concluded that livestock is responsible for 15% of gas emissions that warm the climate. International Climate Researcher, Robbie Andrew, believes that utilizing practices that help the animal to grow bigger faster may help decrease emission, however the animal will still produce methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas.
People could replace beef with chicken or pork, which do have few emissions, however plants have one of the smallest carbon footprints over all.
The report itself does lay out the “optimal” diet for both environment and health. However, researchers understand the battle it may be to convince policy makers, food companies and those set in traditional cuisine.
To learn more: Less beef, more beans. Experts say world needs a new diet – AP
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