Diets that are intentionally curated for healthy people and planet are being referred to around the world as ‘global diets’. Global diets have emerged as part of the solution to reduce human’s contribution to climate change, minimize pressure on global land use and deforestation, and improve global human health. The benefits, challenges, and controversies around global diets have been regular headlines since the release of The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health. Public dialogue on this topic continued after the launch of the revamped Canadian Food Guide, and has recently been re-ignited with the releases of the World Resource Institute’s report, Creating A Sustainable Food Future and the International Panel on Climate Change’s report, Climate Change and Land.
One main aspect of the diets recommended in each of these resources is to reduce meat intake, particularly red meat. Increasing plant-based proteins and fruit and vegetable consumption are also recommended. These recommendations have resonated with some while appearing as a threat to others. Philip Loring, Arrell Chair in Food, Policy and Society, recently spoke to CBC on the link between diets and climate change, suggesting that, “we’ve become very polarized around individual solutions and we still lose sight of the middle ground.” As plant-based proteins become increasingly accessible, the adoption of global diets by some Canadians is becoming more attainable and attractive. For others, the recommendations of global diets may not align with their current dietary choices, food access and traditions, or preference of taste.