Skip to main content

Scientists say this diet will save lives and the Earth

Less red meat and sugar, more vegetables and legumes are required.

Scientists have come up with a diet that they believe will save millions of lives a year and will also prove sustainable for humans amid the threat of climate change.

The report published in medical journal The Lancet could provide the sustenance required to feed 10 billion people if everyone adopted it by 2050, while not causing serious damage to the planet.

It's the work of Stockholm-based nonprofit EAT, comprising the work of 37 scientists who looked at ways to reduce the climate impact of food consumption.

What are the key parts of the diet?

Less red meat, unsurprisingly, is one of the suggestions, as meat production has a higher environmental impact per serving compared to other food groups, as well as having more serious implications for human health.

EAT says that red meat consumption should be limited to 98g – or 3.4oz – a week, so basically a quarter-pound burger. Its research notes that North America is by far the biggest consumer of red meat.

Current food consumption by food group and continent.

Current food consumption by food group and continent.

The same goes for processed meat, added sugar, refined grains and starchy vegetables – namely potatoes – consumption of which should be significantly reduced.

It also advocates for "low to moderate amounts" of seafood and poultry –  while the human race should be doubling the amounts of vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts it eats.  

With the climate already changing as a result of historic greenhouse gas emissions, EAT says this diet should lessen the carbon footprint of food production, which currently accounts for 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 70 percent of freshwater use.

The study also says that the diet will prevent around 11 million deaths a year, thanks to a reduction in heart attacks, strokes and some cancers.

The diet to save the world

Here's what the EAT study says humans should consume in a week.

– 3.4 oz. of red meat (beef, pork, lamb)

– 7 oz. of poultry

– 7 oz. of seafood

– 1.5 lbs. of legumes (dried beans, lentils, peas, soy foods, peanuts)

– 3.8 lbs. of dairy (including milk and cheese)

– 4.6 lbs. of vegetables

– 3.1 lbs. of fruit

– 3.5 lbs. of whole grains (rice, wheat, corn etc. – dry weight)

– 12 oz. of potatoes

– 7.6 oz. of sweeteners (ie. sugar)

– 8 oz. of tree nuts

– About 2 medium eggs

Next Up

Crane Lake

Flooding expected to worsen in MN's Arrowhead region

Hundreds of private homes are at-risk in northern St. Louis County.

St. Paul Police crash

St. Paul police: Kids in stolen car rammed squad, hid in porta-potty

The incident sent the Minnesota Capitol into a brief lockdown.

IMG_7030

Watch: Storm updates after heavy hail slams Twin Cities

Sven Sundgaard is providing an update after Thursday's flash hail storm.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP apologizes over antisemitic sequence in candidate's campaign video

Party leader says candidate didn't know the imagery perpetuated an antisemitic trope.

storm, severe

Tornado, severe thunderstorm watches issued in Minnesota

In addition to possible tornadoes, there is a threat for damaging winds and very large hail.

House sale keys door

High prices, stiff competition putting off homebuyers in Twin Cities

Prices continue to rise in the metro, but there are signs of buyer fatigue.

Screen Shot 2022-05-19 at 1.59.51 PM

Series of explosions at manufacturing plant injures 6 in Wisconsin

The blast rocked the Wisconsin town just before 7:45 a.m.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Medford man dies in Le Sueur County crash

The 49-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Denisovan molar

MN researcher part of team behind 'revolutionary' discovery of ancient tooth in Laos

The molar found in a remote cave is believed to have belonged to a Denisovan girl who lived 164,000-130,000 years ago.

Eagle Ridge Middle School

Charges: Sting catches MN principal trying to hire child prostitute

Authorities alleged Mohamed Selim attempted to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex on Tuesday.

cub donuts 1

Nominate a 'local hero' to get a dozen Cub donuts from Salvation Army

The organization is looking for 1,000 volunteers to help with the effort in the metro.

Related

Study: Here are the foods that are killing us, and the ones that could save us

Read this before opening another bag of chips, or ordering your second burger of the week.

Study: Here are the foods that are killing us, and the ones that could save us

Read this before opening another bag of chips, or ordering your second burger of the week.

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 10.52.29 AM

Watch: Birchwood Cafe features on PBS Newshour

The evening news show also did a feature on kernza, the grain developed partly by the University of Minnesota.

Minnesota's a great place to ride out the apocalypse

The Twin Cities metro is one of the places safest from natural disasters.

wingwalker-donut-flight

Donuts with syringes pulled from State Fair's new food lineup

There were protests over the sustainability of using plastic syringes.

After seeing that devastating polar bear video, what can you do to help?

There are changes we can all make to help combat climate change.

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 12.03.52 PM

Duluth is home to one of America's best delis, Food Network says

The Duluth eatery was praised for its selection of smoked fish.