More Biodiversity on our Plate

(19-01-2023) Did you know that more biodiversity with the different food groups may possibly contribute to a better health for both human and the planet? Prof. Carl Lachat and Giles Hanley-Cook highlight how in their new Nutrinews article.

Balance and variation between different food groups are important cornerstones for a healthy and environmentally responsible diet. There are indications that the term variation should be interpreted even more broadly than it is today. More diversity in species within different food groups may further contribute to better health for both people and the planet.

Short Overview:

  • The ecological challenges for our planet are great. Together with the nitrogen emissions, the great loss of biodiversity is also striking.
  • Food biodiversity includes the wealth of plants, animals and other organisms (e.g. fungi and yeasts) that can serve as food for humans.
  • Dietary recommendations emphasize the importance of diversity between food groups (e.g. legumes, fish, milk). The importance of nutritional variation within food groups (eg finger millet and rice within the cereal food group) and even within species (eg kale and red cabbage) is even less clearly addressed.
  • Several observational studies have found an association between more species richness in the diet and a higher micronutrient intake and a lower risk of premature death.
  • The scientific basis for more food biodiversity is currently not sufficiently robust to be included as a concept in the recommendations. In the coming years, more complex and sophisticated ecological indicators will be reviewed in order to measure food biodiversity and to clarify more health effects.

Read the full Nutrinews article (in Dutch)