Scientists warn that red meat and sugar consumption must halve by 2050

The diet encourages cooking with ingredients such as whole grains and beans

The diet encourages cooking with ingredients such as whole grains and beans

It would also reduce the damaging effects of climate change, soil erosion, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. "Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50 per cent", said Walter Willett, professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-chair of the commission.

The commission brought together 37 experts in agriculture, environmental sustainability, human health, and political science from 16 countries.

The report pointed to a broader problem of disparity - more than 800 million people don't get enough to eat worldwide and many more "consume low-quality diets that cause micronutrient deficiencies and contribute to a substantial rise in the incidence of diet-related obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases".

Daily poultry consumption would be confined to 29g - equivalent to one and a half nuggets - and fish to 28g, a quarter of a medium sized fillet.

But convincing people to overhaul their diets will be hard, especially in areas where meat, cheese, eggs and other restricted foods are integral to the culture.

Co-author Professor Tim Lang, from the University of London, said: "The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are now getting this seriously wrong".

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The plan asks people to adopt a mostly plant-based diet by significantly reducing their consumption of red meat and animal products, and suggests a total overhaul of global food production systems, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Brent Loken, an author of the EAT-Lancet report, said the report lays out the parameters of an optimal diet, but acknowledged the challenge in figuring out how to work with policy makers, food companies and others in tailoring and implementing it in different regions.

The shift could prevent 10.8 to 11.6 million deaths annually, researchers said.

The changes will require policies that give incentives to producers to grow nutritious, plant-based foods, improve access and demand for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, and discourage the consumption of unhealthy foods.

John Ioannidis, chair of disease prevention at Stanford University, said he welcomed the growing attention to how diets affect the environment, but that the report's recommendations do not reflect the level of scientific uncertainties around nutrition and health.

The findings from the EAT-Lancet Commission provides the first scientific targets for a healthy diet from a sustainable food production system that operates within planetary boundaries for food.

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The authors estimate their diet would improve intakes of most vital nutrients while slashing consumption of unhealthy saturated fats.

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts, however, said the global report needed to be looked at "through a local lens", and went on to defend the role of red meat within diets.

According to this, you'd be able to eat one burger a week, or one large steak a month, a couple of portions of fish a week, with the same amount of chicken.

They stated that this could not be achieved voluntarily.

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, accused the authors of the planetary health diet of campaigning for a "nanny state". They note the recommendations are compatible with the US dietary guidelines, which say to limit saturated fat to 10 percent of calories.

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