Study says Americans need to switch to plant-based diet

A recently published a study suggests the world needs to change its eating habits, in order to accommodate a ballooning population.

The suggestion, globally, is that mankind must reduce its red meat and sugar consumption in half, which doubling the intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

In North America, people would need to eat 84 percent less red meat and six times more beans and lentils.

The “planetary health diet” was created by an international commission seeking to draw up guidelines that provide nutritious food to the world’s fast-growing population. At the same time, the diet addresses the major role of farming – especially livestock – in driving climate change, the destruction of wildlife and the pollution of rivers and oceans.

Beef results in a significant amount of methane production, and methane is thought to be more potent than carbon dioxide.

The plant centric diet all allows one beef burger and two servings of fish a week, but most protein comes from the edible seeds of plants in the legume family (pulses) and nuts. A glass of milk a day, or some cheese or butter, fits within the guidelines, as does an egg or two a week.

The recommendation is half of each plate of food, should be fruit and vegetables and a third is wholegrains.

"I don’t think people know how good they can feel. It is harder to change people's food habits than religion or politics," said Bart Potenza, founder of the Candle Café restaurants.

Potenza is 81-years-old, and committed to a vegan lifestyle about 30 years ago. He credits it with making him feel and look young.

"People think we are puritans because we are vegan, and no. We just enjoy the whole village of food," Potenza says.