Eating less meat and more plants benefits the health of humans and the planet, says study

The risk of premature death may be reduced when people eat a diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, according to a new study.

The research also revealed that this type of diet contributes to drastically reducing the emission of gases that produce the greenhouse effect, CNN reported.

The study was published Monday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and evaluated dietary data from more than 200,000 women and men who were enrolled in long-term government studies – every four years for 34 years, study participants filled out questionnaires. about their dietary habits – and did not suffer from serious illnesses when the research began.

According to Dr. David Katz, a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Lifestyle, who was not involved in the study, “eat more whole plant foods, fewer animal foods, and fewer highly processed foods.” It is better for both (the health of) people and the planet”.

Katz, who is founder of the True Health Initiative, a global coalition of experts dedicated to evidence-based lifestyle medicine, “in this work, we see the same message being amplified: follow a dietary pattern that supports body health.” planet and sustainability is directly proportional to significant reductions in mortality from all causes.”

The research assured that consuming a healthy diet could reduce land use by 51%; cut greenhouse gas emissions by 29% and the use of fertilizers by 21%.

All this, the researchers stated, at the same time that the life of human beings is lengthened.

According to experts cited by CNN, food production is fundamental in the climate crisis. For example, raising livestock for human consumption uses large areas of agricultural land and causes deforestation, elimination of biodiversity and pollutes water.

“Changing the way we eat can help stop climate change (…) “What is healthier for the planet is also better for us.”commented Walter Willett, author of the study and professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, quoted by the news network.

According to the UN Environment Programme, ruminant animals They can emit harmful gases that have a great impact on the environment. The gases that these animals emit and their fecal waste generate methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, when global warming is calculated over a 20-year period.

The effect on human health

In 2019, 37 scientists from 16 countries participating in the EAT-Lancet Commission created a diet with two purposes: to improve the health of human beings and at the same time reduce their impact on the environment.

The proposal emphasized the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other plant-based proteins, in addition to recommending the reduction of meat and dairy consumption.

After analyzing data from 200,000 people whose eating habits had been studied for more than three decades to see how they corresponded to the EAT-Lancet Commission's guidelines, the researchers concluded that those who most closely followed the diet proposed by the Commission EAT-Lancet, they had a 28% lower risk of death as a result of neuronal degeneration; 14% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases; 10% lower risk of dying from cancer, and 47% lower risk of dying from a respiratory disease.