A recent report about recommended healthy diet released by Eat-Lancet Commission has sparked two-sided disagreement from various institutions and interest groups all over the world.
Authored by 37 well-respected senior scientists from all over the world, the report, published in March 2019, puts forward a recommendation on the ideal diet the entire population should adhere to in order to minimize the impact of food production systems to the environment while at the same time effectively addressing the ever-growing demand for food.
As the world population is set to reach 10 billion by 2050, Eat-Lancet argued that meat has to be significantly cut down from our diet. The ultimate alternative they proposed is to eat more plant-based foods, sighting that doing so will lower the risk of acquiring heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes. More importantly, plant-based food production systems are environmentally friendly that could have a significant impact on carbon reduction in the atmosphere.
The report details the ideal “planetary healthy diet”, which consists mainly of vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Meat portions and other animal protein-based food are suggested to be limited to only one serving per week. This is the optimum diet that must be followed by everyone if we have a huge concern not only for our own health but of the planet as well, the authors said.
Diet Sparked Tirades
The report was not received well by everyone, however, with some totally in agreement while others were majorly aghast by the food options the commission wishes to bring to the table.
In the food science and technology sector, the reception has been mostly positive. Leaders are in total agreement to the suggestions. There has also been enormous support from certain interest groups such as the Soil Association.
On the other hand, critic Zoe Harcombe – a PhD degree-holder in public health nutrition – argued that the suggested diet is “nutritionally deficient”, particularly in vitamins D, B12, iron, potassium, and sodium.
Food writer Joanna Blythman adds that the report is a direct attempt to influence public agriculture policy. Additionally, the National Farmers’ Union said that it was a report that failed to factor in local differences from different countries.
But perhaps the criticism that has gotten most of the social media’s attention is the one written by Frederic Leroy, a food science and biotechnology professor at the University of Brussels. He argued that the report is part of a corporate conspiracy aimed to push vegetarianism largely for financial gains, giving a blind eye to the nutritional deficiencies in the put forth recommendations.