Understanding and encouraging sustainable diets  

Grouping of vegetables

With changing lifestyles and eating patterns putting pressure on food production resources, it is becoming increasingly important to understand eating behaviours and ways in which people can be encouraged to eat sustainable diets.

Professor Jennie Macdiarmid leads a multi-disciplinary research team that studies the impact of dietary habits on climate change and land use, and the implications for food and nutrition security. In 2019, Professor Macdiarmid contributed to an international expert consultation on Sustainable and Healthy Diets, which was jointly led by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) at FAO headquarters in Rome.

As a result of the consultation, the ‘Sustainable Healthy Diets – Guiding Principles’ report was produced to provide guidance around what constitutes a sustainable, healthy diet and to agree the guiding principles for promoting diets with low environmental impacts.

The principles take a holistic approach to diets and consider international nutrition recommendations and the environmental cost of food production and consumption. Additionally, they also emphasise the role of food consumption and diets in line with commitments to several Sustainable Development Goals.

Coloured lines of grain