CNS 2018: Plant forward: Nourishing people and the planet
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Benoît Lamarche, Laval University
David Jenkins, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto
Plant-Forward: Nourishing People And The Planet (Breakfast Plenary)
Current food systems are unsustainable because they jeopardize current and future food production and fail to nourish people adequately. In order to address the challenges presented by our current food systems, global populations need to move toward dietary patterns that ensure better outcomes for both human health and the ecosystems that people and food production depend on. These sustainable dietary patterns are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.
Governments can signal their commitment to a more sustainable and healthy future by developing and disseminating dietary guidance that integrates both health and sustainability objectives. The revision of Canada's Food Guide provides a unique opportunity to help shape a food policy for Canada that will help ensure food and nutrition security and promote a healthy life for both present and future generations, while protecting the environment.
- Promote awareness on the interconnectedness between sustainable food production and consumption;
- Describe the health benefits of plant-based diets and plant-food components;
- Summarize the emerging evidence of the environmental benefits of plant-based dietary patterns;
- Describe the important role of dietary guidance as a key component of a coherent national food policy.
Dr. David Jenkins: The need to use Plant Protein: How to combine Human and Environmental Health
Health Canada have proposed a new approach for the future Food Guide that will emphasize plant protein foods. In general the proposed new Food Guide direction has been positively received and Health Canada are therefore encouraged to continue in the more plant based diet direction, recognizing that it may have advantages both for human and environmental health. This particular direction to more plant based diets started in Sweden in 2001 and has been taken up by Holland, USA, China, Britain and Belgium. Much of the impetus has come from the Harvard Group studies of the Nurses, Health Professionals and Physicians health Studies. These have suggested adverse signals for meat and animal produce consumption in terms of CVD, diabetes, certain cancers and overall longevity. Studies by others have focused saturated fat, cholesterol, lack of fiber, iron and essential amino acids in excess of requirement as the culprits in red meat. However the gut derived trimethylamine (TMA) converted by the liver to TMAO appears also to be a “new" culprit. The evidence has also accumulated that plant components in combination may have potent cholesterol lowering and anti-inflammatory actions where inflammation is new target for CVD and cancer risk reduction. Perhaps the greatest driver to more plant based diets is the unsustainable environmental destructions caused by human activity to which modern agriculture contributes. Part of the solution may lie in reversing the population explosion, finding alternatives to fossil fuels, and changing to more plant based diets.
***Original Source: "2018 Annual Conference", Friday, May 4, 2018
Last Updated: June 21, 2018
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