People who wish to eat healthy should consider the Mediterranean diet, according to a report released on Earth Day.
The report “Eating Planet,” released by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) and published in collaboration with Worldwatch Institute, particularly recommended the Mediterranean way to populations in developing countries—and that would include the Philippines.
The report said the Mediterranean diet not only had high nutritional value, but also contributed to protecting the environment. It pointed out that food items recommended by nutritionists to be eaten more often—fruits, vegetables, bread, rice, pasta and legumes—had a lower impact on the environment. These items are the mainstay of the Mediterranean diet.
The report noted that, in developing countries, rising average incomes were affecting dietary choices. In view of this, it stressed that “it is important to provide access to and education about healthy foods like fruits and vegetables before bad eating habits develop into deep-rooted cultural practices.”
Proper nutrition, the report said, should be assured for infants and children to “greatly improve overall health later in life.” A balanced diet, coupled with an active lifestyle, could minimize the risks of overweight, obesity, tumors, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, the report said.
The report also said governments should address the lack of transparency and responsibility in the commercial exchange of food around the world to improve universal access to food. “This means, for instance, ensuring that production of crops to be used as biofuels does not interfere with the cultivation of crops for food,” it said.
The report emphasized, “The food system must encourage ‘sustainable well-being,’ or the idea that people’s current well-being should not be achieved at the expense of the happiness or prosperity of future generations.”
Realistic food prices
To ensure sufficient food supplies, “Eating Planet” said agriculture should remain a viable and sustainable source of livelihood. Farmers should be able to ask realistic prices for their products.
It said, “In many countries, food prices are kept artificially low because they do not take into account the environmental impacts of producing food, the high medical costs associated with long-term unhealthy eating habits, the costs required to pay farmers and farm workers a decent living wage plus benefits, and the billions of dollars in government subsidies that farmers receive to grow certain commodities.
“If farmers could charge real prices for the food they grow, consumers, especially in wealthy countries, would reconsider the impacts of their various food choices.”
The report said some 30 percent of food was wasted worldwide, while one billion people went to bed hungry each night and another one billion suffered from health problems related to obesity. Agriculture contributed one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions that were causing global warming or the rise in average temperatures.
“Eating Planet” is a collaboration between BCFN and Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project, an evaluation of environmentally sustainable solutions to alleviate hunger and poverty. It will be available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes starting tomorrow, April 26. For more details and updates, visit www.barillacfn.com/en.
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