In today's world, every place you look you're going to be presented with a fad diet. They've pretty much taken over the world but experts say that these fad diets aren't the ones that are actually healthy. In fact, they suggest that the traditional Indian diet which contains mostly vegetables with a few portions of red meat and seafood is actually the most sustainable and nutritious diet that a person can follow. These experts suggest that this diet can be provided to the world’s projected population of 10 billion people by 2050 without causing any kind of environmental degradation.
This project was created and presented at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2019 on Wednesday. “Grain-fed largescale beef industry is the beginning of the end (of a sustainable planet) and India can show the world how traditional diets high in seeds, nuts, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can provide sustainable nutrition without wrecking the planet,” said Professor Johan Rockstrom.
The researchers took inputs from 37 experts from 16 countries which also included India. They found that if they were to provide a sustainable diet, they needed to improve eating behaviour, food production and reduce food waste by at least half. “As nations urbanise and people become wealthier, traditional meals are being replaced by Western-style resource-intensive foods high in calories, protein, and animal-based foods, such as meats and dairy,” said Rockstrom.
They also said that the current dominant diets are not appropriate because nearly 820 million people are hungry worldwide while around 2 billion people are overweight or obese because they opt for the wrong diet. These researchers were also able to find that if red meat and sugar consumption was reduced by half while the number of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes consumed was doubled, it could result in a reduction of at least 11 million premature deaths per year.
“India’s has a mostly healthy dietary tradition that is rapidly being lost to Westernised homogenised diets high in refined wheat and rice, meat and dairy. Making small changes to traditional eating behaviours by promoting healthy alternative nutrition sources such locally-produced millets, seeds and legumes to optimise health,” said Dr Willet, a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“The scientific targets provide a path for healthy diets and sustainable food production and can be adapted to be part of different food cultures around the world, including in India, Indonesia, Mexico, China and across West Africa,” said Dr Willet. "Food transformation is as crucial as energy transition to save the planet", said Rockstrom. There is a sense of urgency and emergency needed but if we act now, we can make it happen,” he said.