“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts.  Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such a red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%.  A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”
-Walter Willett, MD, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

In case you haven’t seen the news about the EAT-Lancet Commission Report, this statement from Walter Willett, MD, co-chair of the Commission, sums up its significance.  This is the first time specific global targets have been set for healthy diets and sustainable food production.  The dietary targets are plant-based, very much in line with Oldways Heritage Diets.  

The reasons for these targets?  Significant scientific evidence links what we eat to both human health and environmental sustainability.  If we continue to eat and produce food in the same manner as we are in the present, it will be costly in terms of human life, health care costs, and the world we live in. 

As the report states, “to address this critical need, the EAT-Lancet Commission convened 37 leading scientists from 16 countries in various disciplines including human health, agriculture, political sciences and environmental sustainability to develop global scientific targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production.

The report sets out five strategies to achieve these targets globally:

  1. Seek international and national commitment to shift toward healthy diets
  2. Reorient agricultural priorities from producing high quantities of food to producing healthy food
  3. Sustainably intensify food production to increase high-quality output
  4. Strong and coordinated governance of land
  5. Food losses and waste need to be reduced at least 50%, which is in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals

In their conclusion, they reiterate the urgent need for global cooperation and multi-sector, multi-level action, and that food will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century.  Global cooperation is a long road, but how exciting that there is a roadmap for the health of people and the planet. 


Sara Baer-Sinnott, President, Oldways

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