How to Eat in a Way That's Good for the Planet

In the future, this is what everyone’s plate should look like. The EAT-Lancet Commission’s report took a good hard look at the data to figure out how the Earth will feed more than 8 billion hungry humans without irreversibly harming the planet. Though the report does not go so far as to prescribe an exact diet because it would be near-impossible (and not recommended) for everyone all over the world to eat the exact same way, these are their suggestions.

The Planetary Health Diet focuses on an optimal caloric intake from a diversity of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-sourced foods, and unsaturated fats, while limiting the amounts of refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars we consume. About half of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies — the rest should be whole grains, plant proteins, plant oils, and just a smidgen of animal proteins.

To do this, we will need to double the amount of healthy food (read: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts) we produce and eat, and halve the consumption of added sugars and red meat (with the understanding that animal proteins in diet should be looked at through local contexts). Experts say that this switch to healthier foods could save up to 11 million adult lives a year.

The EAT-Lancet Commission is expected to come out with a second report covering how we can tackle food sustainability in the context of economic inequalities and regional differences. Their suggestions could help determine how to make food production a sustainable industry for the future.