Illustration of vegetables cut | Via: Istimewa
By eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables, the world can avoid several million deaths a year by 2050, reduce heating emissions and save billions of dollars a year in health and climate damage, researchers said.
The new study, published in the "Proceedings" (a collection of scientific research papers, published in the academic seminar) of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, is the first to estimate the health impact and climate change through global movement toward plant-based diet, they said.
Unbalanced diet are responsible for the greatest health burden worldwide and regulation of food we produce more than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, said lead author, Marco Springmann of Program Martin Oxford on the Future of Food.
"What we eat greatly affect personal health and the global environment," he said.
Oxford University researchers pointed out the effects of four different diets in the middle of the century: a scenario of 'business as usual'; one that follows global guidelines which include a minimum amount of fruits and vegetables consumed and limit intake of red meat, sugar and total calories; vegetarian diet, eating only vegetables and plant products; and diet do not eat or use animal products.
Applying a diet in line with global guidelines can avoid 5.1 million deaths per year by 2050, while 8.1 million fewer people will die in the vegetable world who do not consume animal products, including eggs and dairy.
When the climate changes, the following dietary recommendations would reduce the emissions associated with the food by 29 percent, adopting a vegetarian diet will reduce by 63 percent and the vegan diet would reduce emissions by 70 percent.
Shifting patterns of tomb could generate savings of 700 billion dollars to 1.000 billion US dollars per year for medical expenses, care that is not paid and lost work days, while the economic benefits from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as 570 billion dollars, according to research that.
Researchers found that three quarters of all benefits will occur in developing countries, although the impact of dietary change will be the largest per capita in developed countries, because of the higher levels of meat consumption and obesity related.
The economic value of health improvement can be comparable to, and possibly greater than, the value of damage is prevented as a result of climate change, they said.
"A benefit that makes a strong case that public and private spending increased at a program which aims to achieve a healthier diet and more environmentally friendly," said Springmann.
The study looked at regional differences that can be used to identify the most suitable interventions for food production and consumption, said Springmann.
For example, lower consumption of red meat would have the biggest impact in East Asia, Western and Latin America, while increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables found to be the biggest factor in reducing mortality in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Lower calorie intake, which led to fewer people who are overweight, will play a major role in improving health in the Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America and Western countries, the study said.
But it will not be easy. To achieve a diet that is attached to the general guidelines will require a 25 percent increase in the number of fruits and vegetables eaten in the world, and the reduction of the intake of red meat as much as 56 percent.
Overall the human need to consume 15 percent fewer calories, he said.
"We do not expect everyone to be vegan," said Springmann, "But climate change impact on the food system would be difficult to overcome and may require more than just a change of technology. Adopting a diet that is healthier and more environmentally friendly can be a big step in the right direction."