Sustainable Diet Is Great, Just Not All-Affordable

by Paromita Datta published on -

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Different studies have recommended a plant-based diet that is both environment-friendly and healthy for the human body. But how affordable is this diet? Not very, according to a recent study published in The Lancet Global Health. The study was constituted to evaluate the affordability of The Lancet‘s earlier publication of a healthy and sustainable diet that minimized the damage to the planet. Titled the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health, it recommended a largely plant-based diet.

Researchers from Tufts University and the International Food Policy Research Institute used economic data from various countries to assess its affordability. They identified the lowest-cost items needed to follow the diet and compared the costs with the average daily household income per capita.

Board with cucumbers, tomatoes, red bells, celery, radishes, carrot sticks, spinach, and hummus

 

The average daily cost was estimated to be $2·84 with high-income countries more expensive than low-income countries. The median costs were highest in the Latin America and Caribbean region and lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. The largest share was for fruits and vegetables, followed by legumes and nuts, meat, eggs, fish and finally, dairy. As a fraction of per capita household income, the cost of the diet was lowest in North America and the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Moreover, the total cost exceeds household income for at least 1·58 billion people worldwide, of which 80% are in middle-income countries. The highest such households are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This indicates a dire need for local intervention and price strategies to make healthy food affordable in these countries.  

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About the Author

Paromita Datta covers the latest health and wellness trends for Organic Facts. An ex-journalist who specialized in health and entertainment news, Paromita was responsible for managing a health supplement for The New Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. She has completed her post-graduation in Business Administration from the University of Rajasthan and her diploma in journalism from YMCA, Delhi. She is currently pursuing an e-course, Introduction to Food and Health, from Stanford University, US.

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