Cut meat to half-rasher a day to save planet

The diet encourages cooking with ingredients such as whole grains and beans

The diet encourages cooking with ingredients such as whole grains and beans

The "healthy diet" would mean a fundamental shift away from red meat and towards vegetables.

To be published online on Thursday, Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets for Sustainable Food Systems also links nutritional targets with environmental sustainability.

Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts, it said, including a greater than 50% reduction in global consumption of unhealthy foods, such as red meat and sugar, and a greater than 100% increase in consumption of healthy foods, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Reducing red meat consumption to half a rasher of bacon a day and eating more nuts will help avert climate change, scientists say. The diet allows for 2,500 calories per day, with variation, and puts limitations on animal based foods such as hamburgers (one per week), fish (two servings per week) and eggs (fewer than four per week).

But convincing people to overhaul their diets will be hard, especially in areas where meat, cheese, eggs and other restricted foods are integral to the culture.

The report, which can be accessed here, said that the earth's current food systems are "faulty" and are a major contributor to climate change and the destruction of the planet. The current system has gotten so out of whack with the planet, the report says, that almost 1 billion people are going hungry while 2 billion people are eating too much.

One of the study's authors, Professor Tim Lang, said that humans are now "getting this very wrong".

"We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before in ways appropriate to each country's circumstances", he said.

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The Commission is a three-year project that brings together 37 experts from 16 countries with expertise in health, nutrition, environmental sustainability, food systems, economics and political governance. They an important nutritional part of a healthy, balanced diet.

According to the findings, such a radical plan could avert between 10.8 million and 11.6 million deaths every year across the planet.

While scientists continue to call for immediately phasing out fossil fuels across the global to avert climate catastrophe, a team of worldwide experts on Thursday unveiled a proposal to address another major driver of the climate crisis: the world's unhealthy and unsustainable food system.

For Ireland, the food and drink industry is worth approximately €12 billion, and this is heavily contributed to by beef and dairy production.

Levels of food waste would also have to be halved at least, said the experts. We are now getting this seriously wrong. we are in a catastrophic situation. He says, "Our definition of sustainable food production requires that we use no additional land, safeguard existing biodiversity, reduce consumptive water use and manage water responsibly, substantially reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, produce zero carbon dioxide emissions, and cause no further increase in methane and nitrous oxide emissions".

Prof Rockström added: "Sustainability of the food system must therefore be defined from a planetary perspective".

While US co-lead commissioner Dr Walter Willett, from Harvard University, added: 'The world's diets must change dramatically.

"They say they want to save the planet but it is not clear which planet are they on".

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