"The dominant diets of the past 50 years are a major contributor to climate change and are no longer nutritionally optimal", the report says. But according to a review just published in the Lancet, we should double our consumption of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and legumes, and eat half the amount of meat and sugar.
Providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems is an immediate challenge as the population continues to grow - projected to reach 10 billion people by 2050 -and get wealthier with the expectation of higher consumption of animal-based foods.
Human diets inextricably link health and environmental sustainability and have the potential to nurture both.
To enable a healthy global population, the team of scientists created a global reference diet, that they call the "planetary health diet", which is an ideal daily meal plan for people over the age of 2, that they believe will help reduce chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as environmental degradation.
There would need to be hardly any increase in the production of whole grains, poultry and dairy products, but drastic increases in production of plant-based foods, nuts and fish, Fanzo said.
Specifically, those of us who are overfed need to cut back on red meat to help reduce the carbon emissions created by such food production, but people who are now underfed should actually eat more beef and lamb. Eggs would be restricted to around 1.5 per week.
Tim Lang, a professor at the University of London said, "We are not saying everyone has to eat in the same way".
"We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before in ways appropriate to each country's circumstances", he said.
"While this is unchartered policy territory and these problems are not easily fixed, this goal is within reach and there are opportunities to adapt worldwide, local and business policies". This groundbreaking scientific report makes game-changing recommendations defining the direction of travel towards a sustainable food and farming system to achieve healthy diets for all by 2050.
At the same time, the global food system is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the biggest driver of biodiversity loss and the main cause of deadly algae blooms along coasts and inland waterways. "It is clear too that a Great Food Transformation will not occur without widespread multi-sector, multi-level action, which must be guided by scientific targets".
"The world's diets must change dramatically", said Walter Willett from Harvard University, co-lead commissioner of the study. Regarding the human diet, the Trust added: "Humans have evolved as red meat eaters and, providing this is part of a balanced diet, beef and lamb provide superior types of protein and fat to plant sources".
In the next 31 years, they said the world should aim to halve the current amount of food waste.
He added that the food group intake ranges recommended by the Commission were flexible enough to accommodate different agricultural systems, cultural traditions, and individual dietary preferences.
Currently, almost a billion people are hungry and another two billion are eating too much of the wrong foods, causing epidemics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
'They say they want to save the planet but it is not clear which planet are they on'.