If We All Ate Enough Fruits and Vegetables, There Will be Big Shortages

Allison Aubrey wrote . . . . . . . . .

If everyone around the globe began to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, there wouldn’t be enough to go around. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Currently, only about 55% of people around the globe live in countries with adequate availability of fruits and vegetables – enough to meet the World Health Organization’s minimum target of 400 grams per person, per day.

With economic growth, presumably, production will expand. But the researchers project that by 2050, an estimated 1.5 billion more people will live in places with insufficient supply – unless challenges such as food waste and improved productivity are solved.

The report comes at a time when poor diets are a leading cause of premature death. In fact, a recent study founddiets are now responsible for more deaths than smoking around the globe. And it’s become increasingly clear that current dietary patterns are detrimental to the environment, too. Recent studies, including the EAT-Lancet study and the Global Nutrition Report, have pointed to the need for a radical shift in the food system aimed at nudging people toward more nutritious and sustainable diets.

“Current diets are detrimental to both human and planetary health and shifting towards more balanced, predominantly plant-based diets is seen as crucial to improving both,” write the authors of the new Lancet Planetary Health study.

Currently, the global supply of calories is more than enough to meet consumption. But many people eat poor-quality diets “characterized by cheap calories, highly processed foods and overconsumption,” the study concludes. These factors promote obesity – so we now live in a world where many people are simultaneously overweight and malnourished. The challenge is to promote a food system that moves “its focus from quantity toward dietary quality and health,” The authors conclude. The study authors include researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia.

The authors argue that several actions are needed to meet the challenges: increased investments in fruit and vegetable production; increased efforts to educate people about the importance of healthy diets; and – given that about one-third of food produced globally is wasted – new technologies and practices to reduce food waste.

The predictions for fruit and vegetable shortfalls are based on modeling. The researchers draw on food production data, but there is uncertainty in their estimates, given factors such as a lack of data on global waste.

Nonetheless, they forecast that several countries will make gains in the availability of produce — such as India and Morocco. But Mexico and several countries in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific region will likely fail to have adequate supplies.

Another new report released Tuesday, from the World Resources Institute, focuses on ways to reform the food system to improve the health of the planet. It’s a deep-dive that’s been years in the making by a group of widely respected, science-based analysts.

They argue that we need to close three key gaps in order to feed the projected 9.8 billion people that will inhabit the planet by 2050: the food gap, the land gap and the greenhouse gas gap.

Consider this: The difference between the amount of food produced in 2010 and the amount we need by 2050 is an estimated 7,400 trillion calories, according to the report. Yes, the number is so big that it’s hard to imagine it. But the bottom line is, we need to get more calories from the world’s current cropland.

One way to do this is through improvements in breeding and technological advancements. The report spells out other fixes, too, including reducing the use of biofuels that divert edible crops to produce energy and reducing food waste. (The group ReFED has laid out these cost-effective strategies to cut food waste).

Yet another proposed fix: Nudge people toward a more plant-centered diet. Currently, agriculture uses nearly half of the globe’s vegetated land – and at least 30 percent of all cropland is used to grow feed for animals. The resource intensiveness of meat production is a leading cause of deforestation. If current trends continue, the WRI report estimates that we’d need an extra 593 million hectares – an area that is almost twice the size of India — to feed the population in 2050.

Currently, agriculture and the land-use changes associated with producing food — such as plowing and clearing vegetation — generate an estimated 25 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to WRI. If today’s consumption trends continue, but agricultural productivity does not increase (beyond 2010 levels), the report concludes that we would have to clear most of the globe’s remaining forests to feed the world. And we’d exceed the greenhouse gas emission targets set by the Paris Agreement, which call for holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

Ruminant livestock (including cattle, sheep and goats) use an estimated two-thirds of all the land dedicated to agriculture and contribute about half of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to agriculture. Demand for meat is growing as more people, in more countries, can afford it. But the report concludes that cutting back on ruminant meat consumption could have a significant impact.

The WRI estimates that if people in the U.S. and other heavy meat-eating countries reduced their consumption of beef (and other meat from ruminants) to about 1.5 burgers per person, per week, it would “nearly eliminate the need for additional agricultural expansion (and associated deforestation), even in a world with 10 billion people.” (The Better Buying Lab, an arm of WRI that focuses on getting people to eat more sustainably, has come up with some clever research-backed marketing ideas to get people to make the plant-centric switch.)

The WRI’s new findings are similar to recommendation made earlier this year by the EAT- Lancet study. A meat industry-funded group has responded to calls for cuts in meat consumption with its own analysis that concludes limiting meat and dairy consumption would have negative consequences. In this analysis, the Animal Agriculture Alliance concludes that meat and dairy provide “unmatched nutrition for healthy bodies, brains and bones.” The analysis also concludes that “U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to make huge strides in conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.”

As the population continues to grow, the conversations around how to change the food system to promote good health and environmental sustainability will go on.

Source: npr

Spicy Rattle Burgers with Chilies


1-1/2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cubed
8 ounces sirloin fat trimmings, cubed
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 dried or canned chipotle chilies (smoked jalapefios), stemmed and minced
1 fresh poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and cut into small squares
1 red sweet pepper, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and cut into small squares
4 great burger buns, split
vegetable oil for brushing on cooking surface
4 thick sweet onion slices
olive oil for brushing on onion
1 bunch arugula, trimmed
4 skewers assorted pickle chunks, pickled peppers, pickled onions, and other pickled vegetables for garnish




  1. Place the chuck, fat, and a meat grinder in a freezer for 1 hour.
  2. Force the chilled beef and fat through the large disc of the grinder into a large bowl. Mix in the egg yolks, then force the mixture through the medium disc of the meat grinder into another bowl.
  3. With your fingertips, fold in the salt, pepper, chipotle and poblano chiles, and sweet pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, divide the beef mixture into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
  4. In a grill, prepare a hot fire for indirect-heat cooking, or preheat a broiler until very hot.
  5. When the grill or broiler is ready, brush the grill or broiler rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill or broiler rack and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn the patties, then raise the grate on the grill, move the patties to a cooler spot on the grill, or lower the temperature on the broiler. Cook the burgers until done to preference, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare.
  6. Brush the onion slices with oil and grill or broil alongside the burgers, turning several times, until tender, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the patties to a platter and allow to rest about 3 minutes before serving to allow the juices to settle. (Do not stack them on top of each other!)
  8. While the burgers are resting, grill or toast the buns.
  9. Place the patties on the bottom halves of the buns. Top with the grilled onion and arugula. Garnish each plate with a skewer of mixed pickles. Offer the condiments at the table.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Chef Jimmy Schmidt

Most Popular Burger Toppings

1. Cheese

2. Onion

3. Condiments

4. Pickles

5. Bacon

6. Chilies

Following Paleo Diet May Increase Risk For Heart Disease

Darwin Malicdem wrote . . . . . . . . .

The people who are on the paleo diet are at risk of heart disease. Researchers found that the lack of whole grains in their daily meals could contribute to high amount of a blood biomarker linked to the disease.

The new study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, analyzed the health of more than 90 people following either paleo diet or a traditional Australian diet. Researchers focused on the presence of the compound trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in the blood of participants.

TMAO is produced in the gut and has long been linked to higher risk of having a heart disease. Researchers found high concentrations of bacteria that produce TMAO in people who followed the paleo diet.

The study suggests that the increase potential occurs due to little to no amounts of whole grains in their diet. Previous studies showed that high consumption of whole grains could help reduce risks of cardiovascular disease.

Paleo diet focuses on meat, vegetables and nuts but low intake of fruit. This approach also restricts grains, legumes, dairy, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.

“The paleo diet excludes all grains and we know that whole grains are a fantastic source of resistant starch and many other fermentable fibres that are vital to the health of your gut microbiome,” Angela Genoni, lead researcher from Edith Cowan University in Australia, said in a statement. “Because TMAO is produced in the gut, a lack of whole grains might change the populations of bacteria enough to enable higher production of this compound.”

Genoni added high consumption of red meat and saturated fats per day on paleo diet add to the increased risk of heart disease. Red meat also supports the production of TMAO.

“Many paleo diet proponents claim the diet is beneficial to gut health, but this research suggests that when it comes to the production of TMAO in the gut, the paleo diet could be having an adverse impact in terms of heart health,” the researcher said.

Genoni’s team also found that populations of beneficial bacterial species was lower in people following the diet. The decrease was associated with their reduced carbohydrate intake that also contribute to other chronic diseases.

Source: msn

Study: Mediterranean Diet Has Big Benefits for Expectant Moms

Could following a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy help head off gestational diabetes and excess weight gain?

A British study says the answer is yes.

But the researchers added that the eating regimen — which is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil — does not reduce the overall risk of complications for mother and baby.

The new study included over 1,200 pregnant women at five maternity units in London and Birmingham, England.

Women who ate a Mediterranean-style diet — including 30 grams of mixed nuts per day and extra-virgin olive oil — had a 35% lower risk for developing diabetes in pregnancy (“gestational diabetes”) and gained 2.75 pounds less, on average, than others.

The findings suggest that a Mediterranean-style diet could benefit women who are obese, or who have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol (lipid) levels before conceiving, according to the authors. The study was published July 23 in the journal PLOS Medicine.

“This is the first study to show that pregnant women at high risk of complications may benefit from a Mediterranean-style diet to reduce their weight gain and risk of gestational diabetes,” said study author Shakila Thangaratinam. She is a professor of maternal and perinatal health at Queen Mary University of London.

Thangaratinam said in a university news release that women who are at risk of gestational diabetes should be encouraged to adopt a healthier diet early in pregnancy. Specifically, they should eat more nuts, olive oil, fruit and unrefined grains, she said, while limiting animal fats and sugar.

Study co-author Dr. Bassel Wattar said it had been unclear how a Mediterranean-style diet would affect high-risk pregnant women and whether it could be adapted for an ethnically diverse population. He’s a lecturer in obstetrics and gynecology at Queen Mary and the University of Warwick.

“Now we know that pregnant women from an inner city, high-risk, multi-ethnic population are able to adapt their diet to a Mediterranean-style, and that this can bring them important benefits including a reduction in weight gain and a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes,” Wattar said in the news release.

Source: HealthDay

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