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Volume 3 Issue 2, February 2022

Transition to sustainable diets

Adoption of the EAT–Lancet reference diet across the world will be challenged by heterogeneity in food systems, dietary patterns, socio-economic development and environmental boundaries. Current domestic food supplies will need to transition for populations to achieve healthy, sustainable diets — and that endeavour varies in complexity across food groups and countries. The food supply of countries highest in the socio-economic development index, at present, is characterized by animal-based foods, fats and sugars in excess of the reference diet. Countries of lower socio-economic development have excess domestic supply of cereal and starchy root foods, and all countries have inadequate supply of legumes, nuts and fruits to achieve the reference diet.

It has previously been reported that adoption of the EAT–Lancet diet will decrease agricultural greenhouse gas emissions globally but increase them from some, primarily low- and middle-income, countries. Now, transition of food supply towards the EAT–Lancet reference diet is shown to reduce the global water footprint by 12%, but increase that of 54 low- and middle-income countries, representing 40% of the world’s population.

See Tuninetti et al.

Image: Merrill Images / Corbis Documentary / Getty. Cover Design: Tulsi Voralia.


  • There is widespread engagement of the scientific community with industry. Statements of competing interest are, therefore, an important mechanism for readers to assess real and perceived biases in published research and commentary.



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Comment & Opinion

  • Aquaculture must grow above the current rate of 11% per year to meet projected demand and reduce dependence on seafood imports. Government support and private investment are urgently needed for sustainable growth.

    • Catherine Ragasa
    • Harrison Charo-Karisa
    • Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Trade-offs between land-based climate change mitigation efforts and food security are common to most decarbonization scenarios. Accounting for climate impacts and inclusive policy design can reverse this trend.

    • Alexandre C. Köberle
    News & Views
  • Chemical and pathogenic hazards in aquaculture supply chains threaten the provision of safe aquatic food. The Seafood Risk Tool is an integrated, semi-quantitative system that develops bespoke supply chain and risk management strategies.

    • Michael Phillips
    News & Views
  • Relocating livestock closer to croplands could increase opportunities for manure recycling and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizer — facilitating nitrogen pollution abatement and reducing the impacts of nitrogen pollution on human health.

    • Baojing Gu
    News & Views
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  • Systems used to categorize processed foods display variation in the impact of highly processed food on risk factors for non-communicable disease. Clarity is needed on the contribution of nutrients, additives and sensory properties of foods categorized as highly processed to health and disease.

    • Michael J. Gibney
    • Ciarán G. Forde
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Amendments & Corrections

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