In addition, we need to consider the impact of our diets on the planet. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) defines sustainable diets as:
“Those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”
Dietary changes towards healthier more plant-based (flexitarian) diets can reduce the environmental impacts of the food system. In particular, staple crops have generally lower environmental footprints (impacts per kg of product) than animal products, particulalry for GHG emissions. Yet, to enable dietary change, comprehensive policy and business approaches are essential to making serious changes possible. These include economic incentives and labelling, as well as aligning national dietary guidelines with current scientific evidence on the health and environmental impacts of our diet.