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29 August 2016  

UN-backed study suggests vegetarian diet can be a “win-win” for health and sustainability

National governments are missing a trick when it comes to the potential for environmentally sustainable diets to improve health, according to a recent report released by the Food Climate Research Network. The study, which was funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture organisation, looked at the websites of 215 national websites to uncover what their guidelines mentioned regarding food.

Of the countries covered by the research, 83 had national food guidelines in place. Only four of these mentioned sustainability, however. Although national guidelines only make up one prong of government’s nutrition strategies, they are indicative of the policy areas which are seen as most important.

“If we are to address the multiple social, health and environmental challenges caused by, and affecting food systems, global populations need to move towards dietary patterns that are both healthy and also respectful of environmental limits," the report states. "There is increasingly robust evidence to suggest that dietary patterns that have low environmental impacts can also be consistent with good health - that win-wins are possible, if not inevitable."

For more information, read the FCRN report.