Western Diet Unsustainable for Planet

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The more animal products people consume, the less likely we are to feed future generations, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Globally, meat and dairy consumption is expected to increase by 68 and 57 percent, respectively, by 2030. Increased demand for animal products stems not only from population growth, but from increasing affluence among the world’s population, which has shifted from grain-based diets to animal-based diets (meat, dairy products, and eggs).

Production of animal products requires more land and resources than plant-based foods, and now 75 percent of all agricultural land is used for animal production. The negative consequences of consuming more animal products affect the environment and future food availability, as well as world health. Greater animal product consumption is associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Cassidy ES, West PC, Gerber JS, Foley JA. Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare. Environ Res Lett. 2013;8:1-8.

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