Our planet doesn't have enough fruits and vegetables for all of us, according to new research. Not enough to satisfy the recommendations of nutritionists around the world.
The study was recently published in The Lancet Planetary Health. Right now, just about 55 percent of the world's population lives in countries that have adequate access to enough fruits and vegetables to make up a healthy diet. But what does it mean when we talk about enough fruits and vegetables? Well, that is connected to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) which say that any of us should aim for eating 14 ounces (about 400 grams) of green things every day.
"Current diets are detrimental to both human and planetary health and shifting towards more balanced, predominantly plant-based diets is seen as crucial to improving both," write the authors of the new Lancet Planetary Health study. They include researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., but also the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia.
What are the solutions for enough fruits and vegetables?
Thanks to economic growth, we should theoretically be producing more fruits and vegetables than ever, but the reality is more than a little different than that. Climate change is a huge issue, because, by the estimates of the researchers, by 2050, 1.5 billion more people will not have access to enough fruits and vegetables for a balanced and healthy diet.
This situation could be significantly improved if we were to focus on fixing issues like massive food waste and also figuring out how to improve the production of fruits and vegetables.
This research emerges in a time when other studies have shown that a diet low in nutrition but high in processed foods is one of the leading causes of premature death, more so than smoking. We're talking about 11 million preventable deaths all around the world.