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Planet or Profit? What drives governments’ dietary guidelines

07.12.2015 07:31

In time for reviews of national dietary guidelines in both Europe and The States, Adam Briggs from the University of Oxford writes in The Guardian about the need to eat less meat, both for the sake of our health and our planet and how these two reasons are interlinked.In this piece we are reminded of a few important points with regards to the meat industry:– that rearing livestock is an incredibly inefficient use of land taking up a whopping 30% of our planet’s land surface.– that livestock is a major contributor to global warming and thought to account for about 15% of global emissions.– that livestock uses an enormously large share of the fresh water available to humans – today an absolute scarcity. Producing 1kg of beef requires 15,000 litres of water, to be compared with potatoes, for example, where 1 kg requires just 290 litres of water.– that eating mainly plant-based foods offer significant health benefits and eating meat does the opposite– that some of the word’s largest food corporations are closely linked to the committees which are behind many nations’ official dietary guidelines, and their profits are at stake should they steer people away from meat and milk.Briggs writes:

So if sustainable healthy diets don’t have to be complicated or costly, why don’t official food guidelines follow Michael Pollan’s advice? Well, one reason may be because there is not much profit in it. At least not for the players that currently have a big stake in the food market. 

I’d recommend you to read the full piece. Here is the link:

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