Universal Healthy, Sustainable Diet Must Work For Everyone, Including Vulnerable Populations

The Conversation: Any ‘planetary diet’ must also work for the poorest and most vulnerable
Andrew Salter, professor of nutritional biochemistry at the University of Nottingham and member of the management team at Future Food Beacon

“…The diet [that the EAT-Lancet Commission] came up with [in its report published on January 16] is likely to split opinion, as it would fundamentally impact on many people’s daily lives. … The EAT-Lancet report cannot be ignored. It starkly points out the catastrophic consequences for the planet of continuing with ‘business as usual.’ Yet it is important that, as agriculture becomes more efficient and sustainable, we still consider the health and well-being of the most vulnerable in society. This includes not only the one billion people who remain in danger of malnutrition in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but also many of the poorest people within the large urban conglomerates of our wealthy countries. If adopted, the report suggests that the dietary changes recommended could save more than 11 million lives each year. While most would welcome a longer and healthier life, these represent more mouths to feed in an aging population. As people get older, their nutritional needs change and about a third of people living in care homes in the U.K. suffer from some degree of malnutrition. Ironically, this is often associated with a lack of high-quality protein, such as is found in meat and dairy products [that the report recommends reducing]. This perhaps raises even more profound questions over what we wish to achieve for the future of humanity” (1/24).