Planetary Health Diet can reduce risk of early death and help planet, study finds. What is it?

Can a diet that is good for the planet also be good for your health? A new study says yes.

In the study, published Monday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that those who adhered most closely to the planetary health diet had a 30 percent lower risk of premature death than those who adhered the least.

Following this diet also had a significantly lower environmental impact, including a 29% reduction greenhouse gas emissions and land use reduced by 51%.

“Climate change is putting our planet on a path to ecological disaster, and our food system plays a major role,” corresponding author Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, said in a press release. “Changing the way we eat can help slow the process of climate change. And what’s healthiest for the planet is also healthiest for humans. … The results show how important human health and planetary health “Eating healthily strengthens environmental sustainability, which in turn is essential for the health and well-being of every person on earth.”

Using health data from more than 200,000 women and men, this is the first large study of Planetary Health diet recommendations. Research participants did not have any major chronic illnesses at the start of the study and completed dietary questionnaires every four years for up to 34 years.

“This is one of the most important articles I have written in the last 45 years,” Willett told CBS News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

What is the Planetary Health Diet?

The diet “emphasizes a variety of minimally processed plant foods but allows for modest consumption of meat and dairy products,” according to the release.

It was first proposed by the EAT-Lancet Commission in 2019, which aimed to address the need to sustainably feed a growing global population.

The diet aims to increase the consumption of healthy foods, including:

While reducing the consumption of foods such as:

“Leaning toward plants,” LaPook says of the diet’s main focus. “If you’re in a restaurant and you have a choice between plant-based or something else, then lean toward the plant-based choice, lean toward the fruits and vegetables.”

In many ways, the diet is similar to the heart-healthy diet. Mediterranean diet. It can be adapted to be entirely plant-based and vegan or omnivorous with the inclusion of some meat and dairy.

“Meat and dairy products are important parts of the diet, but in significantly lower proportions than whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes,” according to the association’s website at non-profit EAT.

Ideally, a “planetary health plate” should consist of about half a plate of vegetables and fruits, with the other half consisting mainly of whole grains, plant protein sources and possibly small amounts of animal protein sources, explains the organization.

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