Beans, vegetables and a weekly dose of meat: is this the diet to save the world?

Scientists have unveiled the 'planetary health diet' which they say will save lives and the planet

Colorful healthy vegan meal. Salad bowl with abocado rose, grilled corn, tomatoes, black beans, whole grain toasted bread, arugula, red onion and cilantro. Getty Images
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As environmental awareness continues to make its way onto our plates, scientists have come up with the diet they say will 'save the world' – and no, it's not vegan.

The ‘the planetary health diet’ promises to feed ten billion people, save lives and stop catastrophic damage to the planet in decades to come.

Despite meat being hailed as one of the biggest contributing factors to climate change, on the planetary health diet, you’ll still get to eat it, alongside dairy. But it won’t be your primary source of protein.

Rather, nuts and legumes will provide you with your essential proteins, with meat acting as a weekly – or sometimes monthly – treat, depending on what you eat.

The diet states that fruit and veg should make up more than half of our plates for each meal, although starchy vegetables such as potatoes should be limited.

The diet was designed between 37 scientists who are part of the EAT-Lancet commission, which set out its goal in 35 corners of the world this week. The diet is based on a 2,500 calorie daily intake, and would require huge changes in almost every global cuisine.

The diet has been designed to be loosely based on the Mediterranean diet, but with less meat, fish and sugar. The biggest changes will be for the Western world due to the small daily intake of dairy, while red meat portions will equate to one burger a week, or one steak a month.

High fibre foods in bowls, still life.
Beans, nuts and seeds will replace meat as your main source of protein

What does a day look like?

Carbs - 232g a day of whole grains such as rice or bread and 50g of starchy vegetables

Vegetables - 300g a day

Fruit - 200g a day

Dairy - 250g - around one glass of milk

Beans, chickpeas, lentils and other legumes - 75g a day

Nuts - 50g a day

Fish - 28g a day

Meat - 14g a day of red meat and 29g a day of poultry

Eggs - 13g a day - about one per week

Sugar – 31g a day

Oils – 50g

Professor Walter Willet, one of the researchers based at Harvard said the diet would not deprive people of certain food. "There's tremendous variety there," he told the BBC. "You can take those foods and put them together in thousands of different ways. We're not talking about a deprivation diet here, it is healthy eating that is flexible and enjoyable."


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