One thing we have learnt this week – is a healthy diet sustainable?

last subsistance lunchIs a healthy diet sustainable?  Listening to the radio this morning there is a new diet and health study out that suggests diets (such as the Aitkins) that substitute protein and fat for carbohydrates may not be good for you.   There is no doubt that excessive sugar consumption is not good for you.  Whilst the lipid hypothesis for the causes of coronary heart disease is being questioned by many substitution of carbs by meat protein will certainly have detrimental effects even by if by just skewing your metabolic balance.

There is of course a general sustainability question regarding meat.  It produces a lot of carbon emissions as I have blogged on before.  In addition in the future we will struggle to produce enough meat globally to allow everyone to eat a “Western diet”.  The solution is as the report alluded to above is to eat pulses, nuts, fruit and vegetables.  Along with oils such as olive oils.  This allows a reasonable intake of protein (lentils are closest in level to meat) whilst definitely not having associations with heart disease.  You do however need a source of B vitamins (especially B12).  There is one final thing to add a widely varied diet with a varied intake of fruits, vegetables and some meat has a very positive effect on your microbiome (bowel health) which is recognised now to have a whole series of effects on your general health.

Is a healthy diet sustainable though?  Eating a healthy diet requires eating a varied food intake from around the world.  Diets such as the Fife diet rely on the opposite.  This is still something I’m exploring.

Neil

 

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