Eating Planet - Food and sustainability: to build our future

Feb 24, 2016 | written by:

In all the kitchens, Barilla has always been the mother of all of us: with its varied types of pasta, gives us every day something good to eat. And as real moms she worries. She worries that we eat healthy, without waste and paying attention and care even to the planet in which we live.

Last February 18, the Foundation Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition presented the second edition of Eating Planet - Food and sustainability: to build our future, a book-research and a binder to support the idea that with a balanced diet we can at the same time reduce the environmental impact of our daily food choices, prevent chronic and cardiovascular diseases and begin a healthy and sustainable way of life.

Barilla started analyzing the fact that the greatest impact on the environment derives from what every day we put on our plates. If we consider only the emissions of greenhouse gases, in fact, is the food to be the main contributor to climate change, with 31% of the total. Particularly relevant is the consumption of meat, responsible for 12% of total emissions, while dairy products account for about 5%. The picture of Italy and of Italians told by Eating Planet talks about a country which, although currently boasts the longest standing inhabitants and lean in Europe, is likely to see changing that because of a progressive detachment from the Mediterranean Diet that featured the famous Italian Lifestyle. Today, two out of ten teenagers are overweight and only three out of ten practice sports. Adding sedentary lifestyle and a change in dietary habits (meals consumed quickly and highly rich in animal protein) and projecting all in a future framework, it appears inevitable repercussions on the incidence of diseases such as diabetes, but also heart disease and chronic conditions.

In order to photograph the best of it, Foundation researchers have also developed two indices that measure, next to GDP (which only quantifies the economic well-being, without calculating the social inequalities or the state of the environment), also aspects related to nutrition and their impact on quality of life. According to these special indicators, Italy is at the third-last place in terms of 'actual well being', above Spain and Greece, but behind countries like Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, Sweden and the USA. A situation that gets worse if we look at the index of sustainability of the welfare of future generations, where we are second to last before Greece. A picture that shows an increasingly necessary and urgent need to adopt a different dietary pattern, but also of life.

To help us understand how to change our habits, Barilla mom made a double environmental and food pyramid which promotes the return to the Mediterranean Diet, by relating the nutritional aspects of food and their environmental impacts they generate during production and consumption. It also shows advantages both for humans and for the environment. An example? The environmental impact of beef, fish and cheese is high, then you will need to consume in a lower, limiting the consumption of animal protein only two times a week and eating healthier grains and legumes, who can save up to 2.300g of CO2 per day. Therefore a need rather than a suggestion, if we do not want to end up eating all the planet.

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