Dieting to save the planet can add years to our lives

Important findings of a new Harvard University study. How much the risk of serious diseases is reduced.

A plant-based diet designed to save the planet could save our lives, according to a new study. The program is the Planet Health Diet (The Planetary Health Diet or PHD for short) and has a very low environmental impact.

At the same time, it is very similar to healthy eating because it emphasizes whole or minimally processed foods of plant origin. It also contains moderate amounts of meat and dairy products.

Harvard University scientists analyzed the eating habits of 206,404 women and men and investigated its potential effects. These volunteers participated in three basic health surveys. Each of them lived 30-34 years. Three of the four volunteers were women.

At the start of the studies, the participants did not suffer from cancer, diabetes or serious cardiovascular problems.

Every four years, they also filled out detailed nutritional questionnaires, among other things. So the researchers were able to assess their diets based on 15 food groups, including:

  • Vegetables
  • poultry farming
  • Whole grains
  • nuts

findings

New research Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As the researchers wrote, at the end of the studies, 31,330 women and 23,206 men lost their lives.

Those who ate a diet most similar to the PHD diet were 30% less likely to die. This was true for all major causes of death, namely:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory diseases

In addition, volunteers with eating habits similar to the PHD diet also had the lowest environmental impact. Compared to those who ate the most animal foods, their diets had:

  • 29% less greenhouse gas emissions
  • The need for fertilizer is reduced by 21%
  • The use of arable land is 51% less

“Changing our diet can slow climate change,” said Dr supervising researcher Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard. “But what’s healthy for the planet is healthy for people, so the benefit is double.”

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