BANT cautiously welcomes EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems but has reservations

Posted On: 
17th January 2019

BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) was interested to read ‘Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. 

Whilst the organisation fully supports considerations that contribute to the urgent environmental debate, it feels obliged to sound a note of caution on some of the specific nutrient recommendations made.  

BANT has reiterated many times in the past that its practitioners do not suggest ‘one-size-fits-all’ advice but take into account individuality that enables personalisation of dietary advice based on the most up-to-date research available.  BANT practitioners are made up of omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans amongst others, and they support clients who also have a range of dietary preferences that are equally diverse. The key is to respect our client’s health, whilst encouraging sustainable and respectful eating to save our planet.

BANT supports the report’s recommendations that half a person’s plate should be comprised of vegetables, a quarter whole grains and a quarter protein, this indeed, is what the organisation has been promoting since the launch of its Wellbeing Guidelines (see image) in 2016. BANT also supports the recommendation of no/low intake of processed foods and added sugar. The reduction of food wastage is also a report recommendation BANT fully supports.

However, BANT does sound a note of caution regarding some of the more draconian recommendations. Humans are, physiologically and metabolically, omnivores and for some members of the population reducing the amount of animal protein to the levels recommended within the report, would be detrimental to health (14g of red meat per week and 1.5 eggs per week for example). BANT believes that there are other earth sustainable solutions, which also respect livestock, such as prioritising fresh, locally farmed ingredients (including grass-fed meat) over industrialised ultra-processed, packaged foods.

BANT continues to promote its Wellbeing Guidelines campaign to encourage the British people to eat more individual ingredients and unprocessed food. Going back to some old-fashioned values, such a family meal times and improving the nations cooking skills to use fresh ingredients, will go a long way to help the obesity targets and health of the individuals.