A Global Change in Diet and Food Production can Save the Planet

Sheetal Dhamecha
Sheetal Dhamecha

A report published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ states that an international team of scientists are developing a diet that can improve health while ensuring sustainable food production in order to reduce damage to the planet. As per the researchers, the new diet can help in preventing 11.6 million premature deaths. 

The need? 

The global change is needed as 3 billion people across the world are malnourished, including both, the undernourished and overnourished and at the same time, food production is overstepping environmental targets. Around 1 billion people live in hunger while 2 billion eat too much of the wrong foods. Studies suggest that the world’s population is set to reach 10 billion people by 2050. The current trends of diet and food production habits will aggravate the risk to people and Earth on a whole. 


The study suggests decreasing the consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar by 50%. In turn, the consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes must be increased more than two-fold. It advises that people consume 2500 calories per day. 

Strategies suggested for change in food production and consumption 

  • Subsidies to fit under a recommendation in order to ensure good governance of land and ocean. Land clearing must be prohibited and subsidies to world fisheries removed as they lead to overcapacity of the global fishing fleet.

  • Incentivizing farmers to shift production from large production of few crops to diverse production of nutritious crops.

  • Healthy food should be made more accessible and information campaigns must encourage people to eat healthily.

  • To intensify agriculture, local conditions must be taken into consideration to ensure that they’re best practices for a particular region and can produce the best crops.

  • Food waste can be reduced by improving harvest planning and market access in low-income countries wherein improving the shopping habits of consumers in high-income countries.

The report acknowledges the radical change it advocates and the difficulty of achieving it: “Humanity has never aimed to change the global food system on the scale envisioned. Achieving this goal will require rapid adoption of numerous changes and unprecedented global collaboration and commitment: nothing less than a Great Food Transformation.” 

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