The EAT-Lancet Commission

International research project launched to investigate healthy and sustainable diets

Published June 13, 2016

An international team of scientists has begun work to assess whether transformation of the global food system is possible in order to deliver healthy and sustainable diets to feed a growing world population. The EAT-Lancet Commission, which consists of 20 world-renowned scientists, kicked off their work in Stockholm on June 11th and 12th prior to the EAT Stockholm Food Forum.

This global assessment, due for completion in 2017, will be the first systematic analysis of the global food system and will help policy makers by providing a roadmap for how transformation of the food system can help in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement.

«Radical transformation of the global food system is absolutely critical» Johan Rockström, commission co-chair and Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre

Food is linked to almost all of the SDGs and it will be impossible to meet these goals, or the Paris Climate Agreement, without a transformation to sustainable and healthy food systems,” Rockström goes on to say. Although challenging, this transformation is possible. Changes in dietary choices, such as reduced red meat consumption, could avoid further deforestation even with a population over 9 billion. Moreover, such a dietary shift could reduce global mortality by 6-10% and food related greenhouse gas emissions by 29-70% by 2050.

«The world’s diet is undergoing a dramatic nutrition transition to western diets (...) This dietary shift is the main cause of a dramatic rise in obesity and non-communicable diseases» Walter Willett, commission co-chair and professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health

“Wealth, industrialisation, and rapid urbanisation are driving a surge in resource-intensive meat and dairy products and ultra-processed foods. This dietary shift is the main cause of a dramatic rise in obesity and non-communicable diseases,” says Willett. Worldwide, in 2014, about 1.9 billion adults were overweight, of whom 600 million were obese. This epidemic is accompanied by another horror: almost 800 million people suffer from hunger and another 2 billion have micronutrient deficiencies.

“Shifting to a minimally processed and diverse diet that is rich in fruits and legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and tubers with little meat and moderate amounts of sustainably-sourced seafood is beneficial for health and for the environment,” says Gunhild Stordalen, President and founder of the EAT Foundation. “The good news,” Stordalen goes on to say, “is that such a transformative shift of the global food system is possible and will bring about great opportunities to tackle today´s major health and environmental challenges. The EAT-Lancet Commission is a critical step in making this transformation possible,” says Gunhild Stordalen,