A group of 37 scientists from 16 countries published a comprehensive report this week in scientific journal The Lancet recommending an immediate global shift toward plant-based food consumption and production to avoid environmental catastrophe. For three years, the group reviewed relevant scientific findings related to dietary habits and food production methods and their impact on global environmental and health. The scientists concluded that a global transition to a plant-based diet is the single best approach to alleviating environmental degradation. The team recommended that meat consumption be slashed by more than 50 percent to meet environmental and health goals, while the consumption of plant-based food should be doubled. The report urges consumers to “embrace plant sources of protein” and proposes a cap on daily “red” meat consumption at 14 grams (or one half of a quarter-pound burger), chicken at 25 grams (the equivalent of about one chicken wing), and dairy at 250 grams (or one glass of milk). Should the global population follow the report’s recommendations, scientists posit that up to 11.6 million premature deaths could be avoided, while substantially slashing greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use, and other markers that contribute to climate change by 2050. “The food we eat, the ways we produce it, and the amounts wasted or lost have major impacts on human health and environmental sustainability,” the report states. “Getting it right with food will be an important way for countries to achieve the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.” This report is part of an organization, The Eat-Lancet Commission, that plans to publish actionable reports to guide both consumers and governmental bodies in sustainably transforming the global food system.
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