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New planetary diet to promote global health, experts say

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The world’s population is growing, and food resources can’t keep up.In light of this, scientists, including 37 specialists from 16 countries have unveiled a new planetary diet, which is deemed ideal for the health of the planet and the global population.

The new diet recommends a doubling of consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes, and a halving of meat and sugar, based on the global average food consumption.

The planetary diet comes after a three-year project commissioned by The Lancet, a medical journal.

Britain’s University of London professor and co-leader of the research, Tim Lang, said that the food consumed determines our health and the health of the planet. Lang adds that it is impossible to feed a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy, sustainable diet without first transforming eating habits and improving food production while collectively reducing food waste.

Lang’s proposal could signal more dramatic changes for individual regions. It is noted that North Americans eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat, while South Asians eat only half the amount of what is suggested by the planetary diet. As for the target requirement of starchy vegetables such as potatoes and cassava, people of sub-Saharan Africa on average eat 7.5 times the suggested amount, much more than the ideal consumption.

Of this observation, there is an obvious imbalance that needs to be rectified. Walter Willett of Harvard University, US has said that insufficient food and an unhealthy diet leads to disease and premature death. The researchers have also said that improper diets cause more death and disease worldwide, much greater than unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined. Many life-threatening chronic diseases are linked to poor diets. These chronic diseases include obesity, diabetes, malnutrition and even cancer.

The planetary diet is hoped to resolve this endemic health threat.

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