Home Medizin Reduzieren Sie den Fleischkonsum, um das Klima zu retten, sagen französische Gruppen

Reduzieren Sie den Fleischkonsum, um das Klima zu retten, sagen französische Gruppen

von NFI Redaktion

In late February 2024, Climate Action Network France (the French subsidiary of Climate Action Network International) and the French Society of Nutrition released a comprehensive study on dietary practices associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Based on their modeling, they provided recommendations aimed at aligning nutrition and climate concerns, with a focus primarily on reducing the consumption of meat products. Univadis France interviewed Nicole Darmon, PhD, Research Director at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment and co-author of the recommendations.

Univadis: Why did Climate Action Network France and the French Society of Nutrition decide to propose new dietary recommendations?

Nicole Darmon: The National Nutrition Health Plan (PNNS) has historically focused on addressing nutritional issues and has never taken environmental aspects into account. However, food accounts for 22% of the French CO2 footprint, primarily due to meat products. As the revision of the future PNNS is currently underway, we wanted to propose a dietary scheme that minimizes the CO2 footprint while still meeting the recommended intake without the need for supplements or fortified foods. The current version of PNNS recommends prioritizing poultry consumption while limiting the consumption of other meat types (beef, lamb, pork, etc.) to 500g per week and processed meats to 150g per week. This exceeds the recommendations of nearly 25 other countries that have already integrated environmental concerns into their dietary guidelines, such as Denmark, Spain, and Sweden. These guidelines generally limit meat consumption (including poultry) to 300–630g per week and prioritize the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. The „Planetary Health Diet“ recommended by Lancet experts advocates for only 300g of meat per week in all categories.

Univadis: So you believe it’s possible to halve meat consumption?

Darmon: The INCA3 consumption survey shows that, on average, the French consume 900g of meat per week across all types. Our calculations indicate that a nutritionally appropriate diet with half the amount of meat (i.e., 450g/week) is possible without the need for supplements or fortified foods. Furthermore, this change would result in reducing the CO2 footprint of our diet by 20 to 50%. The scenario with a 35% reduction in CO2 footprint seems to be an acceptable compromise: it includes consuming meat, fish, or eggs once a day and dairy products two to three times a day. In this context, the recommendations for fruits and vegetables remain unchanged. Legumes should be consumed between 65g and 100g daily, currently recommended twice a week without specifying portion sizes. Finally, the intake of unsalted nuts, preferably walnuts, should be 25–30g per day, equivalent to two small handfuls, while PNNS currently recommends one small handful per day. These recommendations, combined with those for other food categories that remain largely unchanged (particularly a 2.5-fold reduction in sugary products), would achieve the recommended intake of fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, as well as vitamins C and E and improve the intake of iron and omega-3 fatty acids. They would also reduce the intake of saturated fats, sodium, and sugar.

Univadis: Which population group is affected by the dietary changes you advocate?

Darmon: The scope of our study is limited to healthy adults and excludes certain groups. Older individuals are exempt from these recommendations due to their specific nutrient requirements for maintaining muscle mass. Similarly, there are specific recommendations for pregnant and lactating women. Very young children often consume too much protein and too little fat, leading to an increased risk of future obesity. Therefore, reducing meat consumption should not be a problem as long as there is sufficient fat intake. However, these recommendations may not necessarily be tailored to the dietary needs of adolescents, which are specific during this growth phase. Specific calculations would be required to determine the adequacy of their protein intake.

Additionally, our analysis focuses solely on consumption as a lever. We do not address other levers such as reducing food waste and food production methods, which also play an important role in moving towards a healthy and sustainable diet.

Univadis: To what extent are your recommendations financially feasible, considering that the most vulnerable individuals may have difficulty accessing healthy foods?

Darmon: Our modeling suggests that this more plant-based diet would cost about 10% less, as meat accounts for about a quarter of the French food budget regardless of households‘ socioeconomic status. This estimate is rough, as it is based on food prices from 2015. The inflation of nearly 20% since then has undoubtedly influenced our estimates, although it is assumed to have affected all food groups relatively evenly. However, in 2016, we estimated the minimum cost of a balanced diet to be 3.85 euros per person per day, while households in the lowest income decile spent about 4 euros per person per day on food. Therefore, it is likely that the food budget of a significant portion of the population is no longer sufficient to ensure a balanced diet.

Univadis: How can this report influence the ongoing revision of the PNNS?

Darmon: The High Council for Public Health is initially involved in the drafting and updating process, setting general guidelines. These are then processed by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, which summarizes the information to formulate recommendations or adjustments. Public Health France is responsible for translating these recommendations into practical guidelines for the general population and developing slogans, images, and all necessary communication materials for the public. It was drafted taking into account the contributions of various advisory structures such as the National Council of Food. In this context, we believe that this report is an important contribution that provides valuable insights for future alignment. This revision is part of a broader strategy called the „National Food, Nutrition, and Climate Strategy.“ PNNS should no longer focus solely on food intake but fully consider climate issues.

Nicole Darmon reported no financial conflicts of interest related to the article. This story was translated from Univadis France, part of the Medscape professional network, utilizing several editorial tools, including AI, in the process. Human editors reviewed this content before publication.

Related Posts

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.