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Plant-based eating

Table of contents

    What is plant-based eating?

    The term “plant-based diet” encompasses a variety of eating patterns which prioritise healthful plant foods with no or moderate amounts of animal-derived foods. Plant-based eating does not automatically exclude all animal products, rather it puts plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, soya, nuts, seeds and plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy, at the core of the diet.

    Flexitarian diets include mostly plants, with moderate intakes of meat, dairy, and eggs. Flexitarian diets encourage variety and reflect many national food-based dietary guidelines. Individuals who actively attempt to minimise animal products in their diets often do so for health, ethical, or environmental reasons. Pescatarian diets exclude all animal products with the exception of seafood. Vegetarian and vegan diets are in the main based on plant foods including vegetables, fruits, soya, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Vegetarian diets exclude flesh meat and fish, but may include dairy and eggs (lacto-vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian). Vegan diets typically source all calories from plants and exclude all animal products.

    Why plant-based eating?

    “Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.”

    EAT-Lancet commission, 2019

    To maintain our food systems within the planetary boundaries, we need a comprehensive approach including:()

    1. Significant dietary shifts towards healthy plant-based eating which can include some meat and dairy

    2. Cut food waste in half

    3. Improvements in agricultural efficiency

    4. Transition to low-carbon energy

    At Alpro Foundation we agree that our dietary choices can have a huge impact on our health as well as that of our planet.

    Our top tips for better human and planetary health

    In the main it's important to change our mindset

    • When planning meals, we need to think healthy plant foods first: Centre meals around plant foods and use meat and dairy as a garnish

    • Include meat-free meals/days as part of your weekly routine

    • Search for plant-based recipes to inspire you

    Plant-based eating in numbers

    PB Eating impact global - PBE page

    References: ,,

    References

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    2. Willett W, Rockstrom J, Loken B et al. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet. 2019;393(10170):447-492. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31788-4

    3. Baden MY, Gang Lui, Satija A, et al. Changes in plant-based diet quality and total and cause-specific mortality. Circulation. 2019;140:979–991. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.041014

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    6. Neufingerl N & Eilander A. Nutrient Intake and status in adults consuming plant-based diets compared to meat-eaters: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2021;14(1):29. doi: 10.3390/nu14010029

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    8. Kim H, Caulfield LE, Garcia-Larsen V, et al. Plant‐based diets are associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all‐cause mortality in a general population of middle‐aged adults. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;8(16):e012865. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865

    9. Springmann M, Godfray C, Rayner M, et al. Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change co-benefits of dietary change. PNAS. 2016;113(15):4146-4151. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523119113

    10. Laine JE, Huybrechts I, Gunter MJ, et al. Co-benefits from sustainable dietary shifts for population and environmental health: an assessment from a large European cohort study. Lancet Planet Health. 2021;5(11):e786-e796. doi: 10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00250-3

    11. Springmann M, Godfray C, Rayner M et al. Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change co-benefits of dietary change. PNAS. 2016;113(15):4146-4151. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523119113

    12. Craig WJ, Reed Mangels A, Fresán U, et al. The safe and effective use of plant-based diets with guidelines for health professionals. Nutrients. 2021;13(11):4144. doi: 10.3390/nu13114144

    13. Chen Z, Drouin-Chartier J-P, Li Y, et al. Changes in plant-based diet indices and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes in women and men: three U.S.. prospective cohorts. Diabetes Care. 2021;44(3):663-671. doi: 10.2337/dc20-1636

    14. Aljuraiban G, Chan Q, Gibson R, et al. Association between plant-based diets and blood pressure in the INTERMAP study. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. 2020;3(2):133-142. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000077

    15. Gibbs J, Gaskin E, Ji C, et al. The effect of plant-based dietary patterns on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled intervention trials. J Hypertens. 2021;39(1):23-37. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002604

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    17. Glenn AJ, Lo K, Jenkins DJA, et al. Relationship between a plant-based dietary portfolio and risk of cardiovascular disease: findings from the women's health initiative prospective cohort study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021;10(16):e021515. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.121.021515

    18. Päivärinta E, Itkonen ST, Pellinen T, et al. Replacing animal-based proteins with plant-based proteins changes the composition of a whole Nordic diet-a randomised clinical trial in healthy Finnish adults. Nutrients. 2020;12(4):943. doi: 10.3390/nu12040943

    19. Crippa M, Solazzo E, Guizzardi D, et al. Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Nat Food. 2021;2:198–209. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00225-9

    20. Poore J, Nemecek T. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science. 2018;360(6392):987-992. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaq0216

    21. Reynolds CJ, Horgan GW, Whybrow S et al. Healthy and sustainable diets that meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and are affordable for different income groups in the UK. Public Health Nutr. 2019;22:1503-17. doi: 10.1017/S1368980018003774

    22. Springmann M, Spajic L, Clark MA, et al. The healthiness and sustainability of national and global food based dietary guidelines: modelling study. BMJ 2020;370:m2322. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136 bmj.m2322

    23. Benton T, Bieg C, Harwatt H, et al. Food system impacts on biodiversity loss. Three levers for food system transformation in support of nature. Chatham House, 2021. Accessed Feb 2022. https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/02/food-system-impacts-biodiversity-loss

    24. Taylor A. Land of plenty. WWF-UK, Feb 2022. Accessed Feb 2022. https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/land-of-plenty?utm_source=Grants&utm_medium=PaidSearch-Generic&pc=AUZ014007&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAiAsNKQBhAPEiwAB-I5zXBps3wbxY2jvGKu2-wspLZYUIkcJPgGVBv7vcbVFnpkZwbl_1vjbhoCnP4QAvD_BwE#download-the-reports-here

    25. Springmann M, Spajic L, Clark MA, et al. The healthiness and sustainability of national and global food based dietary guidelines: modelling study. BMJ 2020;370:m2322. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136 bmj.m2322 . Data supplement: Supplementary information: Excel spreadsheet with overview of country level results https://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/1031038/field_highwire_adjunct_files/2/sprm054404.ww3.xlsx

    Alpro Foundation report

    Sustainable diets for better human and planetary health

    Scientific review

    Plant-based eating & carbon footprint

    E-symposium

    Changing behaviour: from policy to table. Moving the dial towards sustainable diets

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