How to save the planet: Eat less meat, more greens, nuts

Consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, must increase more than twofold.
Consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, must increase more than twofold.PHOTO: AFP

Here is a rundown of the daily meal plan that dozens of health and environment experts are urging the world to adopt in order to sustain a global population of 10 billion by mid-century while reining in climate change and preventing millions of premature deaths each year.

MEAT IS (ALMOST) OUT

The team behind a landmark food study said intake of some foods such as meat and sugar needs to fall by half by 2050 to reduce the global burden posed by the three billion people on earth who are either over-or underfed.

Livestock farming is catastrophic for the environment, producing up to 18 per cent of global greenhouse gases and contributing to deforestation and water shortages.

Under the new regimen, adults would be limited to 14g of red meat a day - equivalent to half a rasher of bacon - and get no more than 30 calories from it.

A quarter-pounder burger patty contains roughly 450 calories and North Americans alone consume more than six times the current daily recommended red meat intake of between 50g and 70g.

The diet recommends no more than 29g of poultry daily - around 1½ chicken nuggets - and 13g of eggs, or just 1.5 a week.

FRUIT AND VEG UP

Consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, must increase more than twofold, particularly in poorer nations where more than 800 million people get insufficient calories.

 
 

More wholegrain foods such as barley and brown rice are needed, but starchy vegetables like potatoes and cassava are limited to 50g a day.

GOOD NEWS FOR NUT LOVERS

Healthy sources of fat such as nuts and seeds receive a boost: You can eat up to 75g a day of peanuts, but will need to cut back on other unsaturated fats such as oily fish on those days.

Ultimately, the new diet could prevent up to 11.6 million premature deaths globally per year, according to its creators.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2019, with the headline 'How to save the planet: Eat less meat, more greens, nuts'. Print Edition | Subscribe