Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumption and diets

The type, quantity and formats of foods we eat vary considerably over time and space. A person’s consumption of food is rarely a matter solely (or even largely) of personal conscious choice. Instead, it is affected by such wide-ranging factors as cultural identity and taboos, food availability and price, genetics, legislation, technological innovation and marketing campaigns. Governments and civil society organisations have long been promoting healthy diets to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases both at a global and national scale and the concept of ‘sustainable healthy diets’ – diets that have lower environmental impacts but fulfil nutritional requirements –  is very slowly gaining ground.

Image: Adam Clark, Baked doughnuts, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
13 January 2020

This review paper argues that obesity and mortality in the United States could be reduced by limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed foods and meats, because of the tendency of processed foods to encourage people to eat more food (based on trials in people), and the inflammatory effect of emulsifiers such as carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 (based on mouse and in vitro studies, not studies in people).

https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(19)30134-4#%20
13 January 2020

This paper assesses how nationally recommended diets across the world compare to average diets in the categories of human nutrition, environmental impacts and animal welfare. It finds that, in most countries, the recommended diets largely out-perform current diets in all three categories because of lower animal product consumption.

Image: Aqua Mechanical, Crop irrigation, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
13 January 2020

FCRN member Francesca Harris has co-authored this paper, which systematically reviews the water footprint of different types of diets around the world. The paper distinguishes between the use of blue water (ground and surface) and green water (rain). 

7 January 2020

This book explores how the design of new food products can contribute to healthy diets and discusses the role of the food industry and government in shaping health policies.

7 January 2020

This report from the US nonprofit Centre for Biological Diversity quantifies the environmental impacts (climate, habitat loss and water use) of caterers or events planners switching from a “conventional American dining menu” (including dairy, beef and other meats) to a mostly plant-based alternative menu. 

Image: Pxhere, Tsukiji Sushi Dai restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, CC0 Public Domain
7 January 2020

FCRN member Christian Reynolds has co-authored this paper, which finds that in Japan, differences in the carbon footprint of household food consumption are driven by what the paper describes as “unexpected” food categories: the households with higher food carbon footprints spend more on restaurant food, fish, vegetables, alcohol and confectionary.

9 December 2019

This report by Lloyd’s Register (a UK-based provider of professional services for engineering) surveyed 1000 UK shoppers. It finds that one in three shoppers are concerned about food safety, only 19% are very confident that the vegetarian or vegan food they eat does not contain meat, nearly two thirds of people sometimes check the country of origin of food they buy, and 85% of shoppers think it is fairly or very important for supermarkets to source their products ethically and sustainably.

2 December 2019

According to a survey by UK NGO Eating Better, 63% of 11 to 18 year olds in the UK see the environment and climate change as the top concern for the UK at the moment. While most do not want to change their levels of meat consumption, 29% of those who do eat meat would like to reduce their consumption.

Image: Pxhere, Smartphone hand, CC0 Public Domain
2 December 2019

This paper analyses the Twitter reactions to the diet proposed by the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, focusing on the #yes2meat hashtag as well as the official #EATLancet hashtag. The study found a sizable countermovement that was sceptical of the EAT-Lancet dietary recommendations, with the #yes2meat term becoming prominent around one week before the EAT-Lancet report was launched.

Image: National Institutes of Health, Fruit, Vegetables and Grain, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
25 November 2019

This paper reviews current dietary patterns and trends, examines their links with health, the environment and equity, and suggests how governments, industry and consumers can help to shift diets towards patterns that are beneficial to both people and the environment.

19 November 2019

Will Nicholson of the FCRN has contributed to this report on the future of protein by Forum for the Future. The report asks whether the food industry is taking sufficient action on providing sustainable, healthy protein.

Image: Stian Broch, Barley-otto 0970, EAT-Lancet media kit
19 November 2019

According to this study, the diet recommended by the EAT-Lancet commission on grounds of health and sustainability is too expensive for around 1.6 billion people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. The study is based on food prices and household incomes in 159 countries. 

Image: Ella Olsson, Hummus Dip, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
4 November 2019

This feature from the Guardian newspaper explores why veganism attracts hostility from some commenters. The piece suggests that opposition to veganism can be driven by concerns about malnutrition and fear of loss of personal freedom, and may also be linked to certain ideas about traditional gender roles.

4 November 2019

This op-ed by FCRN member Mia MacDonald and Judy Bankman, both of US think tank Brighter Green, argues that affordable, accessible, sustainable and healthy diets for everyone can only be achieved with the commitment of everyone, including policymakers, industry influencers, city planners, local business owners and consumers.

4 November 2019

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have published this set of guiding principles for sustainable healthy diets, aimed at policymakers.

Image: Engin Akyurt, Stir fry noodles in bowl, Pexels, Pexels License
22 October 2019

In this opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper, Jess Fanzo and Mario Herrero argue that food producers, consumers and governments all need to make changes to help reduce the climate impact of the food system. 

22 October 2019

This book questions whether the rising demand for meat is indeed driven mainly by wealth and argues that the consumption of cheap meat is linked to economic insecurity. It also questions the view that the modern human brain evolved because of the consumption of meat.

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