Designed to feed the ten billion people who will inhabit the Earth in 2050 while limiting environmental impact, the planetary diet unveiled in 2019 has been the subject of numerous scientific studies. The latest study suggests that it could significantly reduce the risk of premature death with a lesser impact on the planet.

In 2019, a group of experts formed by the British medical journal The Lancet and the EAT Foundation recommended adopting a diet that is both healthy and sustainable. The “planetary health diet” is based on increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, while reducing the consumption of red meat and sugar.

A comprehensive study outlines the mechanisms and benefits of the “planetary health diet” (or “planetary diet”) based on “an increase in the consumption of healthy foods and a decrease in the consumption of unhealthy foods, which would bring major health benefits and also increase the likelihood of achieving sustainable development goals.”

It aims to “[address] the need to provide a growing global population with a healthy diet while defining sustainable food systems that will minimize the damage to our planet.”

Just a year ago, a team of researchers showed that consuming environmentally friendly and healthy foods was associated with a 15% decrease in deaths from cancer or cardiovascular disease. The benefits were even higher for neurodegenerative and respiratory diseases, with a decrease in the risk of death estimated at 20% and 50%, respectively.

Premature Death: A Significant Decrease
The scientific community is now closely examining the benefits of this specific diet, whether for health or the environment. A team of researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the United States suggests that it could not only reduce the risk of premature death but also limit the impact of diet on the planet.

Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this research suggests that participants whose diets were closest to the “planetary health diet” had a lower risk of death from all major causes. The researchers even observed a lower risk of up to 30% among the top 10% of adults who adhered most to the diet, compared to the bottom 10%.

A Virtuous Circle
But that’s not all, and that’s the whole point of this research, the environmental impact was also reduced with this diet: up to -29% for greenhouse gas emissions, -21% for fertilizer needs, and -51% for agricultural land use for those who adhered to it the best.

“The results demonstrate that human health and planetary health are interconnected.”

“Eating healthily promotes environmental sustainability, which in turn is essential for the health and well-being of every person on Earth,” concludes Walter Willett, the lead author of these studies, in a statement.