UNITED NATIONS: Food sustainability, both in production and consumption, is at the heart of a healthy public and planet.

On World Health Day, it is increasingly clear that a radical transformation of the global food system is sorely needed.

“In recent years we have witnessed a gradual departure from sustainable food models, such as the Mediterranean diet, in favor of models rich in animal-based proteins, processed foods with high percentages of sugar, salt, fat or low in fiber,” said Barilla Foundation’s nutritionist and researcher Katarzyna Dembska.

“These food solutions can expose us in the long run to very expensive diseases or health problems. Choosing sustainable diets, in addition to reducing the impact on the environment, can positively affect longevity,” she added.

The EAT-Lancet Commission echoed similar sentiments in a report, stating: “Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth. However, food is currently threatening both people and planet.”

According to the Barilla Foundation, more than 650 million people over the age of 18, equal to 13 percent of the world’s population, are obese.

Unhealthy diets
Obesity, caused by unhealthy diets, is among the risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems and diabetes.

New research by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found that unhealthy diets are responsible for 11 million deaths worldwide per year, even more than smoking tobacco.

The assessment shows that diets high in sodium and low in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and nuts all contribute to diet-related deaths. Heart attacks and strokes are the main diet-related causes of death.

The study also found that an improvement of diet could prevent one in five deaths worldwide.

Read more at the Manila Times