Future-proof and sustainable healthy diets based on current eating patterns in the Netherlands

Roline Broekema, Marcelo Tyszler, Pieter van 't Veer, Frans J. Kok, Agnès Martin, Anne Lluch, Hans T.J. Blonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: To keep global warming <1.5°C as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), eating patterns must change. However, future diets should be modeled at a national level and respect cultural acceptability. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to identify diets among Dutch adults satisfying nutritional and selected environmental requirements while deviating minimally from the baseline diet among Dutch adults. METHODS: We calculated per capita food system greenhouse gas emission (GHGE) targets derived from the IPCC 1.5-degree assessment study. Using individual adult dietary intake from the National Food Consumption Survey in the Netherlands (2007-2010) to form a baseline, we used quadratic optimization to generate diets that followed the baseline Dutch diet as closely as possible, while satisfying nutritional goals and remaining below GHGE targets. We considered 12 scenarios in which we varied GHGE targets [2050: 1.11 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (kg CO2-eq) per person per day (pppd); 2030: 2.04 kg CO2-eq pppd; less strict 2030: 2.5 kg CO2-eq pppd; no target], modeled eating patterns (food-based dietary guidelines; flexitarian; pescatarian; lacto-ovo-vegetarian; vegan), and conducted exploratory analyses (food diversity; acceptability; food chain interdependency). RESULTS: Optimized solutions for 2030 required major decreases (<33% of baseline values) in consumption of beef, pork, cheese, snacks, and butter and increased consumption (>150% of baseline values) of legumes, fish and shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, vegetables, soy foods, and soy drink. Eight food groups were within 33%-150% of the baseline diet among Dutch adults. The optimized solution complying to the lowest GHGE target (2050) lacked food diversity, and the (lacto-ovo) vegetarian and vegan optimized diets were prone to nutritional inadequacies. CONCLUSIONS: Within Dutch eating habits, satisfying optimization constraints required a shift away from beef, cheese, butter, and snacks toward plant-based foods and fish and shellfish, questioning acceptability. Satisfying 2050 food system GHGE targets will require research in consumer preferences and breakthrough innovations in food production and processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1338-1347
Number of pages10
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Volume112
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • dietary change
  • dietary scenarios
  • environmental impact
  • health impact
  • sustainability

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