What current literature tells us about sustainable diets: emerging research linking dietary patterns, environmental sustainability, and economics

Nancy Auestad, Victor L Fulgoni
Advances in Nutrition 2015, 6 (1): 19-36
The concept of sustainable diets, although not new, is gaining increased attention across the globe, especially in relation to projected population growth and growing concerns about climate change. As defined by the FAO (Proceedings of the International Scientific Symposium, Biodiversity and Sustainable Diets 2010; FAO 2012), "Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations." Consistent and credible science that brings together agriculture, food systems, nutrition, public health, environment, economics, culture, and trade is needed to identify synergies and trade-offs and to inform guidance on vital elements of healthy, sustainable diets. The aim of this article is to review the emerging research on environmental and related economic impacts of dietary patterns, including habitual eating patterns, nutritionally balanced diets, and a variety of different dietary scenarios. Approaches to research designs, methodologies, and data sources are compared and contrasted to identify research gaps and future research needs. To date, it is difficult to assimilate all of the disparate approaches, and more concerted efforts for multidisciplinary studies are needed.

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