An international group of scientists has devised a "planetary health diet" it asserts can offer health benefits while maintaining sustainable food production to minimize further damage to Earth. This diet is centered on halving red meat and sugar consumption and doubling the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. According to a report in The Lancet summarized on CNN, adopting this regimen "can prevent up to 11.6 million premature deaths without harming the planet."
The study's authors state that we need a worldwide change in diet and food production, because 3 billion people are malnourished (under and over), and current methods of food production are causing negative environmental impacts, resulting in climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. With global population projected to hit 10 billion by 2050, all of these problems, these experts warn, will "exacerbate risks to people and planet." CNN's story has infographics breaking down the diet's specifics and food consumption by various regions.
While the study's scientists propose a reasonable diet, it would be even better for the environment if everyone went vegan. Our baby steps toward less destructive eating seem insufficiently urgent; we should instead be taking Olympian-sprinter strides, given the dire scenarios that experts project. But old, bad habits die hard.