It’s time to look at the “sustainable diet” topic we covered in 2019 ! Many publications on sustainability were analyzed and especially the place of dairy products in it. Dive into this topic through a symposium organized during ASN Nutrition 2019 in June 2019.
What is a sustainable diet ?
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations definition is: “Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”
Pr. Adam Drewnowski presented the model in a publication (Front Nutr. 2018; 25;4:74), we analyzed in a dedicated post “Are you eating a sustainable diet?”. He also presented it in detail during our Symposium “Sustainable diets”, in collaboration with Elin Roos on “Sustainable diet: what does it mean?” and Frans Kok on “Dairy and yogurt as part of sustainable diet”.
We couldn’t focus on this topic without talking about the EAT Lancet report (Willett W, et al. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet. 2019;393(10170):447-492)
Thereby, several other publications emphasized how to build a sustainable diet.
How to build a sustainable diet?
Simple changes to your diet may help save the environment
We want to do more to save the planet, but we don’t know how to manage it. A study (Perignon M, et al; Public Health Nutr. 2016;19(14):2662-74) shows that we can make a big difference by eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.
Tough decisions are needed in the switch to a sustainable food system
Switching to a sustainable food system may require facing challenging choices as a society say the authors of this review (Bene C, et al. World Development 2019;113:116–130).
Choose your low-emission diet with care
According to this latest study from the USA (Rose D, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;109(3):526-534), diets that have the least impact on the environment also tend to be those that are the healthiest. But as you take the leap to switch to a diet with the smallest possible carbon footprint, be aware of not missing out on some vital nutrients.
There is more to a sustainable diet than saving the planet
Can we really eat a healthy balanced diet and help to look after the planet at the same time? This study (Vieux F, et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018;72:951-960) shows that by changing the types and amounts of foods we eat, it is possible to eat in a way that meets our nutritional needs while also reducing pressures on the environment.
Dietary guidance aims for a healthy planet
Choosing a diet that’s less harmful to the environment is one way of contributing to a healthier planet. Dietary guidance must consider environmental sustainability alongside nutrition, according to this report of the position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) in the USA (Rose D, et al. ,J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019;51(1):3-15).
Is there still a place for dairy products in sustainable diets?
A radical shift to plant-based foods isn’t the solution to sustainability
It may be all the rage to switch to plant-based foods, but research reveals that ceasing animal farming may not be the best way forward. Instead, preserving our planet for our future generations is more likely to come about by finding the best balance between plant-based and animal-source food production, according to the author of this article (Peters S, The (surprising) role of dairy in sustainable diets. Report of International Dairy Federation conference, Sevilla, Feb 2018).
How can dairy help to cut down food carbon emissions?
If you’re planning to help save the planet by cutting down on animal products in favor of more plant-based dishes, it might be necessary to rethink about it. The chances are you could be contributing to even more damage to the environment, according to this report (van Est L. et al.Translation from: Voeding Magazine (1) 2017:p15-22).
Balancing health and environment: how dairy products tip the scales
A major challenge of today’s world is how to produce food to keep us all healthy while reducing the harmful effects of producing that food on the environment. It’s a delicate balance, which becomes all the trickier as our world population grows. Eating more plant-based foods and less meat is advocated by many experts, but what about dairy products? (Hobbs DA, et al. Eur J Nutr. 2019 Mar 29).
Replacing cow’s milk with plant-based milks? Make sure you check out their nutrient content
The popularity of plant-based “milks” is on the rise for many reasons, some people choosing them as an alternative to cow’s milk. If you’re one of them, the chances are you’re wondering how their nutrient content compares with cow’s milk – especially if you’re buying for your family (Chalupa-Krebzdak S, et al. International Dairy Journal. 2018;87:84-92).
For more information:
- Discover also the report of our recent symposium on how yogurt may address malnutrition (FENS 2019, Dublin) and the focus on Dairy & yogurt as part of sustainable diets made by Pr. Frans KOK
- Discover our complete Q&A about sustainable diets: