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4 Sustainability and Healthy Dietary Changes Through Policy and Program Action
Pages 53-90

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From page 53...
... THE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF DIETARY CHANGES TOWARD SUSTAINABLE DIETS Citing the same Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) definition of sustainable diets referenced by other speakers (FAO, 2012b; see Box 2-2 in Chapter 2)
From page 54...
... − Results of a combined analysis of health and environmental impacts of three sustainable diet strategies for 158 countries indicated that chang ing dietary patterns (balancing both nutrient composition and energy) shows the most promise.
From page 55...
... • There are multiple opportunities for integrating sustainability into each of the three essential functions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) process.
From page 56...
... adopted nutritionally balanced dietary patterns developed by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems and regionalized based on country-level preferences for types of grains, fruits, and meats. Springmann explained that because these dietary patterns were also energy-balanced patterns, this third strategy addressed the same energy imbalances addressed by the second strategy.
From page 57...
... With the food security strategy, most of the reduction in premature mortality resulted from reductions in obesity, followed by reductions in underweight. Springmann went on to report that, because the public health strategy essentially doubles the health benefits of the food security strategy by balancing the nutritional composition of not only diet but also energy, the reduction in premature mortality associated with that strategy was similarly approximately double that of the food security strategy.
From page 58...
... . He explained that with the food security strategy, because there is a greater percentage of overweight and obese people than underweight people worldwide, correcting for energy imbalance effectively removes food from the system, and consequently the environmental impacts of that food.
From page 59...
... Nitrogen and phosphorous applications, however, would be expected to decrease slightly because of future technological improvements anticipated to outweigh any increases that would otherwise occur. In contrast, Springmann continued, with the environmental strategy scenarios, large reductions in GHG emissions occurred across all regions (see Figure 4-2b)
From page 61...
... of three different dietary change strategies, by region: (a) impacts of the food security strategy when 100 percent of energy imbalances (overweight, obesity, and underweight)
From page 62...
... Among the three different dietary change strategies tested, Springmann advocates the public health strategy. A strategy that balances dietary intake and food composition could, he said, "deliver quite a bit and a way to achieve sustainable diets." However, he cautioned that currently, most national dietary guidelines do not actually reflect the evidence on healthy eating used to deduce the dietary patterns modeled in his team's analyses, incorporating no or overly lax limits for animal-source foods, particularly dairy.
From page 63...
... The trade-off, however, was lowering the reduction in GHG emissions from 90 percent to only 25 percent. Like Springmann, Macdiarmid commented on the number of systematic reviews conducted since this first modeling work was done, highlighting one review in particular.
From page 64...
... She added that in all of the modeling that she and her colleagues have done, regardless of the combinations of foods they have tested (i.e., healthy and with low GHG emissions, healthy and with high GHG emissions, unhealthy and with low GHG emissions, and unhealthy and with high GHG emissions) , the one outcome they have always derived is achieving the necessary amount of protein (Macdiarmid, 2013)
From page 65...
... Most people do not eat just because they want to protect the environment." She called for a more integrated understanding of some of the factors that are actually driving what people are eating. Macdiarmid pointed out that national dietary guidelines have existed for a long time and are often held up as evidence of accomplishments in
From page 66...
... She cautioned that, like national dietary guidelines, such recommendations would "get stuck" at the guideline stage absent more thought about what drives people to eat what they eat. For her, the reality that people eat for different reasons raises another key point: that everybody is different.
From page 67...
... Without providing details, she briefly mentioned work of her research team showing that there are many different ways in which people can change their diet to achieve nutrient requirements while also reducing GHG emissions, and that the optimal way varies among individuals. Finally, Macdiarmid highlighted the need to think of the food system not as a linear process but as one with many feedback loops.
From page 68...
... Currently, she observed, WRI analysis indicates that about one-quarter of the world's GHG emissions are due to agriculture when land use change is taken into account. In addition, 37 percent of the Earth's landmass (excluding Antarctica)
From page 69...
... Increasing Production According to Ranganathan, sustainable production solutions include, first, sustainably boosting yields through crop breeding. She called attention to "the other GM," meaning Gregory Mendel and classical breeding, and highlighted the potential of modern genomics to accelerate conventional crop breeding.
From page 70...
... R ­ anganathan observed that if food waste were a country, it would rank third in GHG emissions behind China and the United States. "Just think about that," she said.
From page 71...
... Later, during the discussion period, Ranganathan clarified that while she was not convinced that information provided in the DGA directly influences what foods people order or buy, she believes it does in fact have a significant influence on the food manufacturing and food services sectors. Strategies for Shifting Diet: Lessons from the Private Sector "The private sector knows how to influence people's consumption choices," Ranganathan said.
From page 72...
... Fourth is evolving norms. Ranganathan cited just one example: "If you think about the last time you saw a man in public cooking food, he was probably cooking a beef burger on a barbeque." She referred to M ­ acdiarmid's earlier discussion of other examples of social norms and encouraged more thinking about how to evolve them to favor more sustainable food choices, such as plant-based rather than animal-based food.
From page 73...
... . Strategies for Shifting Diet: Lessons from the Food Services Sector In addition to its study of the retail sector, Ranganathan continued, WRI has been studying consumer behavior in the food services sector.
From page 74...
... Ranganathan reported that WRI created its Better Buying Lab with a group of food service companies to experiment with ways of shifting food choices in the United States and the United Kingdom. She explained that the lab generates ideas, tests those ideas with the food service companies, and then shares more broadly what has been learned.
From page 75...
... THE CASE FOR NUTRITION-SENSITIVE VALUE CHAIN INTERVENTIONS: WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS IMPROVED While most of the workshop discussion on actions that can support sustainable diets revolved around production versus consumption strategies, Maha Tahiri, former food industry executive, addressed the challenges and opportunities for achieving sustainable diets through a different lens: nutritionsensitive value chain (NSVC) interventions.
From page 76...
... . Though the traditional focus has been on economic value, nutrition-sensitive value chains leverage opportuni ties to enhance supply and/or demand for nutritious food, as well as opportunities to add nutritional value (and/or minimize food and nutrient loss)
From page 77...
... In contrast, in a situation of FIGURE 4-6  Strategies for nutrition-sensitive value chain interventions. NOTE: N = population; prd = product; std = standard.
From page 78...
... . She described how this study involved a value chain that already existed -- a local dairy factory, Laiterie du Berger -- that had been receiving milk from its network of seminomadic, pastoralist dairy farmers, but on an irregular basis.
From page 79...
... Specifically, she pointed to the importance of elevating nutrition in the agenda. OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY AND DIETARY GUIDANCE Barbara Schneeman, University of California, Davis, who served on a National Academies committee examining the process for establishing the DGA (NASEM, 2017)
From page 80...
... Integrating Sustainability into Dietary Guidelines for Americans Strategic Planning In general, the National Academies committee encouraged more strategic planning across DGA cycles and a longer-term look at development of the guidelines. Specifically, the committee proposed that a Planning and Continuity Group "provide the secretaries of USDA and HHS with planning support that assures alignment with long-term strategic objectives spanning multiple DGA cycles, identify and prioritize topics for the [Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committee]
From page 81...
... chosen, the relevant expertise will need to be brought to bear, either through membership of the Planning and Continuity Group or through any subcommittees that are formed. Either way, she said, "that expertise needs to be part of the process." Challenges to Integrating Sustainability into Dietary Guidelines for Americans Strategic Planning In Schneeman's opinion, integrating sustainability into DGA strategic planning presents an opportunity, but also challenges.
From page 82...
... Integrating Sustainability into Dietary Guidelines for Americans Synthesis and Interpretation Schneeman observed that work conducted during the third phase, synthesis and interpretation, is what most people associate with the current DGAC. She noted that the National Academies committee proposed
From page 83...
... She noted that she had not discussed the final phase, federal review and update, which is what leads to publication of the DGA Policy Report. In her opinion, if there is transparency in the three earlier phases regarding the integration of relevant sustainability topics, this final phase "takes care of itself." Schneeman's take-home message was that to integrate sustainability into the DGA, it will be necessary to clarify the relationship between sustainability and the purpose of the DGA.
From page 84...
... and Update NOTE: DGA = Dietary Guidelines for Americans; DGSAC = Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committee. SOURCE: Presented by Barbara Schneeman on August 1, 2018; reprinted with permission.
From page 85...
... While acknowledging that it would be difficult with the current cycle, she encouraged the audience, "If the topics start to emerge and we have agreement on how sustainability relates to the purpose of the dietary guidelines, then we have a way to start thinking about how [to] build that into the dietary guidelines going forward." Peter Lurie, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC, and Food Forum member, suggested reframing Drewnowski's question in a slightly different way.
From page 86...
... Springmann directed Hitja to an FAO/Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) report titled Plates, Pyramids, Planet: Developments in National Healthy and Sustainable Dietary Guidelines (Fischer and Garnett, 2016)
From page 87...
... He also referred to an analysis of the effect of GHG taxes on food consumption. While the analysis predicted that taxing food according to its GHG emissions could influence food consumption, diets would probably not change significantly.
From page 88...
... However, Ranganathan also cautioned that using only private-sector strategies is not enough; government action, policies, and price signals are also needed. But her hope is that working with businesses first, particularly food service companies, will cause them to become champions that will call for government to institute the needed changes.
From page 89...
... And is the whole system responding effectively? Springmann was asked by Rebecca Boehm, Yukon Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, how interventions to reduce consumption of sugary drinks compare with interventions or approaches that might be used to reduce meat consumption.


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