Is the plant-based diet the secret to food security?

According to the FAO Food Security Programme, one of the main dimensions of food security is the physical availability of food or “supply,” determined by the level of food production and stock levels. Evidence has suggested that the animal-based diet has put more pressure on the food system and impacts global food security – a key area of discussion as meat consumption is estimated to increase by 75% by 2050. Moreover, with an ever increasing population, the ways to maintain a sufficient food supply and stock remained a key concern across the globe. Hence, we explore the impact of changing to a plant-based diet on improving long-term food.

What is a plant-based diet?

The plant-based diet offers flexibility for individuals to decide what type of diet they would like to follow. The main idea is to increase the intake of plant foods like fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes and limiting or reducing the intake of foods like meats.

What are the benefits? How can it help with food security? 

The health benefits surrounding the plant-based diet have been widely explored, including reducing blood pressure, preventing different types of disease and decreasing the risk of cancer. More importantly, it helps to improve food security and allow the food supply to be more sustainable. Currently, livestock consumes 50% of the world’s grain; 80% of soy and 50% of corn is fed to livestock. By changing to a plant-based diet, it is estimated that an additional 4 billion people could be fed. From an agricultural point of view, growing plant-based food is more sustainable and affordable. The production cost is lower compared to livestock, this also means more yield can be achieved and waste can be minimised.

I want to change! But where do I start?

It is important to ease into a new diet to allow your body to adjust to the change and maintain this as a long term habit. It is also important to choose the plant-based diet that is most suited for you. Here are some tips to follow to get started with a plant-based diet.

  • Set small and achievable goals
    • For example, cook 2 plant-based meals or set a no-meat day every week.
  • Build around the food that you usually consume
    • As previously mentioned, a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean to completely cut down meat intake. For instance, having salads as a side for dinner or cutting down the amount of chicken breast and adding tofu to a salad.
    • Adding fruits to breakfast cereals, have them as snacks or dessert.
  • Find inspirations
    • This can be visiting your local vegetarian or vegan restaurants or look at recipes online.

We recommend visiting an Accredited Practicing Dietitian to receive advice tailored for your health and lifestyle. Get in touch with us to explore Accredited Practicing Dietitians in your area.

Nutrition Australia NSW is proudly supported by NSW Health

Check out our latest posts