Report calls for “global health diets” and for immediate action

Mar 11, 2019
Sébastien Bouley

The EAT-Lancet Commission, born from the merger of The Lancet with EAT, a non-profit start-up dedicated to the transformation of the global food system, brought together 37 scientists from multiple disciplines and from 16 countries. Its purpose was to define global science goals for healthy diets and sustainable food production.

A review of the literature leads experts to conclude that a diet rich in plants (fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains) and containing a smaller proportion of animal foods with optimal caloric intake confers advantages to the times for health and the environment. The Commission has analyzed the potential impact of dietary changes on dietary-related mortality and believes that dietary changes from current diets to healthy diets are likely to have major health benefits with approximately 11 million premature deaths a year, which represents between 19% and 24% of the total number of adult deaths.

On the sustainable food production part, the Commission has chosen to focus on six biogeophysical processes (climate change, land use change, water cycles, nitrogen cycles, phosphorus cycles, loss of biodiversity) and proposes for each of the limits in which world food production will have to remain in order to reduce the risk of irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes in the Earth system.

The Commission considers that the data are both sufficient and robust to justify immediate action and proposes 5 strategies for a major food processing:

  1. International and national commitment to a transition to healthy eating
  2. Refocus on agricultural priorities from quantity production to quality production
  3. Intensify sustainable food production to increase high quality production
  4. Strict and coordinated governance of land and oceans
  5. Reduce food losses and waste by at least half, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Experts conclude that food will be a defining issue of the 21st century and call for immediate action.

You can find the Comission’s report online at this link. Abstracts in several languages are available here.

Orchidali can help you to conduct reviews and analyzes of the scientific literature.