'World is not growing enough fruit and veg', study finds

13/11/2018 - 06:00
The world is not growing enough fruit and vegetables for everyone to eat a balanced diet, according to a new study.

Published in the journal PLOS ONE, it suggested that a global appetite for fat, sugar alongside a surge in grain production to feed developing countries, has le to a system that cannot provide balanced diets for all.

They based their research on Harvard University’s ‘healthy eating plate’, which recommends that half of our diets consist of fruit and vegetables, a quarter of whole grains and the remaining quarter, protein, fat and dairy.

In order to feed the world’s rapidly expanding population with healthy diets, the scientists said that more fruit and vegetables must be produced alongside a shift to plant-based proteins.

They found that such a shift would also reduce land use and cut greenhouse gas emissions, meaning it would be good for the planet as well as the global population.

Using the ‘Harvard plate’, they worked out how much land is currently used for farming, as well as how it is currently divided, and how much would be needed if everyone stuck to the system.

The results revealed that there are 12 servings of grain being produced instead of eight, and just five servings of fruit and vegetables, instead of the recommended 15.

The study also suggested that levels of fat and sugar production were also far higher than necessary for a ‘healthy’ population.

Many developing countries have pumped masses of investment into grain and corn production, some of this capacity must be swapped for other crops, according to researchers.

In addition, there was also a smaller shortfall in the amount of protein being produced, with three servings per person instead of five.

To bring protein consumption up to the required amount, the scientists recommended that a greater emphasis must be placed on plant-based proteins instead of animals.

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