Cutting back on red meat 'will save the planet'

The meat and dairy industries also dispute the report's recommendations

ANDY JACKSON STUFFThe meat and dairy industries also dispute the report's recommendations

To get the required daily intake of calories, they claim citizens around the world will be expected to eat nearly 18 times as many dry beans, soy and nuts.

Presenting the diet at a briefing on Wednesday, the researchers said they acknowledged it was very ambitious to hope to get everyone in the world to adopt it, not least because there is vast global inequality of access to food.

There should also be a 100% increase in consumption of healthy foods like nuts, fruits, vegetable and beans, they said.

Co-lead commissioner Dr Walter Willett of Harvard University in the United States, stressed the health advice submitted in the report.

The diet is the result of a three-year project commissioned by The Lancet and involving 37 specialists from 16 countries.

The 32-page report, made public on Thursday, promotes diets consisting of a variety of plant-based foods, with low amounts of animal-based foods, refined grains, highly processed foods and added sugars and unsaturated rather than saturated fats.

'This doesn't mean giving people a tablespoon of meat a day, but it means having a hamburger about once a week or, if you really like big steaks, have one once a month'.

"From a sustainability perspective, it would be counterproductive to reduce meat production in Ireland, only to import food from less sustainable systems overseas", MII stated.

Lang said feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy, sustainable diet will be impossible without transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste.

"Agriculture priorities need to shift", said commission member Jessica Fanzo, an associate professor of global food and agricultural policy at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore.

"We know up to 30% of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted, which is incredible considering being that we still have over 800 million people go to bed hungry every night", Fanzo said. For example, countries in North America eat nearly 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat, while countries in South Asia eat only half the recommended amount.

'They are making no secret of their desire to tax and ban their way towards a near-vegan diet for the world's population.

Whitney Linsenmeyer, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, noted that the diet recommended by the commission is "mostly consistent" with the current dietary guidelines recommended by the US Department of Agriculture.

All countries are eating more starchy vegetables (potatoes and cassava) than recommended with intakes ranging from between 1.5 times above the recommendation in South Asia and by 7.5 times in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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