Eating more beans and cutting down on the consumption of beef is not only a healthier diet, but it can also help save the world from global warming.
According to a new study, the "planetary health," a diet that is rich in lentils as well as vegetables, fruits, and nuts but low in red meat and dairy, could be the key to reversing climate change without compromising on the public's health. Researchers revealed that by following the diet, people would significantly cut the rate of premature death each year and reduce the excess emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The study was conducted by a panel of nutrition, agriculture, and environmental experts who reviewed previously published research that linked red meat to an increased risk of various diseases.
Their findings were published in the journal The Lancet on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
The Planetary Health Diet: Less Meat
Overall, the planetary health diet recommends that people cut their consumption of red meat and dairy in half. Aside from the health concerns associated with red meat, there is a lot of resources that go toward raising and feeding livestock, including land and water, before meat ends up on the table.
The livestock industry is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases around the world.
A plant-based diet is generally accepted to be the healthier and more environment-friendly option. However, those who cannot immediately commit to going vegetarian can still eat meat, but they have to cut their consumption back to once a week.
The same is applicable to dairy: less is better. According to the researchers, the ideal amount of dairy is 250 grams, which is equivalent to one glass of milk.
Walter Willet, one of the researchers and a professor at Harvard, promises that food that adheres to the planet health diet will not be bland.
"You can take those foods and put them together in thousands of different ways," he said. "We're not talking about a deprivation diet here, it is healthy eating that is flexible and enjoyable."
Necessary Changes For The Good Of The Planet
The researchers added that the situation right now of the planet right now demands significant changes immediately and everyone around the world should watch their diets. Those in the West could cut back on red meat, East Asians should eat less fish, and Africans are recommended to scale back from having starchy vegetables.
"We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before," stated Tim Land of the University of London, a co-author of the study. "The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong."