Climate protection on the menu: WWF presents "eco food pyramid

How the official dietary recommendations could take into account environmental as well as health aspects

23-Mar-2023 - Austria

What would the official food pyramid look like if it took planetary boundaries into account in addition to health? The environmental protection organization WWF Austria has sought the answer with experts* from the University of Economics - and today presents concrete proposals for a reform of the official dietary recommendations based on a new study. "A healthy, balanced diet with the least possible impact on the environment is also possible in Austria. The biggest lever is a strong reduction of animal foods," explains Pegah Bayaty from WWF Austria. Instead, more emphasis should be placed on plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes. "Austria urgently needs a nutritional turnaround for healthy people and a healthy environment. This starts with the official food pyramid, which in the future must meet not only health but also ecological criteria," demands Pegah Bayaty.

The production of animal-based foodstuffs, in particular, is bursting the ecological load limits. "The consequences of our high meat consumption are unmistakable: Greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, large land requirements and the use of pesticides and fertilizers," warns Pegah Bayaty. The recommendation of the "Food Pyramid 2.0" is therefore: Half less meat, fish and eggs and two thirds less dairy products. Instead, more legumes, nuts and vegetable fats - to maintain the energy and protein supply at the level of the current food pyramid.

"Only if we reduce the consumption of animal foods can we ensure a sustainable diet and thus prevent the planet from going out of balance," says Martin Bruckner of the Institute for Ecological Economics at WU Vienna, who prepared the study on behalf of WWF. Converted to portions, this means: on average, a maximum of one portion of red meat every two weeks and a maximum of one portion of low-fat white meat per week, plus one to two eggs. According to the study, the consumption of dairy products should also be reduced from the current three portions to one portion daily. In return, in addition to a high proportion of fruit and vegetables, the proportion of cereals, nuts and vegetable oils should increase - to the benefit of health and the environment.

Five-point plan for a nutrition turnaround

Computer generated picture

In order to initiate the urgently needed nutritional turnaround in Austria, the WWF demands five essential measures from politicians: In addition to reforming the food pyramid, the governing politicians must at least halve food waste by 2030, anchor the protection of valuable soils in contracts in order to preserve valuable arable land, introduce nutrition education as a school subject, and make eco-social changes - for example, by reducing the value-added tax on fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

Other news from the department business & finance

More news from our other portals

AI is changing the food & beverage industry