The EAT–Lancet Commission on Diet, Healthspan, and Sustainability

The EAT–Lancet Commission on Diet, Healthspan, and Sustainability

Human health, diet, and environmental sustainability are prevailing concerns that share many common uncertainties. Fulfilling the nutritional needs of a growing population while limiting environmental degradation is a critical challenge that requires global collaboration and commitment. Current food systems, in addition to supporting unhealthy diets and practices, greatly impact the environment, leading to climate change, biodiversity loss, freshwater misuse, interference with the global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, and land-system change. Current global food systems are simply unable to provide the population of ~7.7 billion with healthy diets while also achieving environmental sustainability.

The EAT-Lancet Commission brings together scientists and experts from the diverse fields of human health, agriculture, political sciences, and environmental sustainability in an effort to establish global targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production. Using the best scientific evidence available, the Commission seeks a global transformation of food systemsthat will help to achieve the goals set forth in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. The SDGs are global goals reduce hunger and improve nutrition. The Paris Agreement sets a budget on greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global mean temperature increase to less than 2°C.

The EAT-Lancet Commission has quantitatively characterized a universal healthy reference diet that will positively impact both human health and the environment. This healthy reference diet consists predominantly of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and unsaturated oils; includes a low to moderate amount of seafood and poultry; and includes no or little red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables. The commission has also rendered scientific boundaries that will aid in the reduction of environmental degradation caused by food production at all scales.

At OFAS, we have spent over 25 years studying how a low-methionine diet improves lifespan and healthspan. This diet consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and contains limited quantities of meats, seafood, and poultry—much like the the EAT-Lancet Commission’s healthy reference diet. Thus, a low methionine diet not only provides benefit to an individual’s health but also promotes a sustainable environment.

The EAT-Lancet Commission proposes five strategies to achieve the “Great Food Transformation”.
1. Seek international and national commitment to shift towards healthy diets
2. Reorient agricultural priorities from producing large quantities of food to producing healthy food
3. Sustainably intensify food production, generating high-quality output
4. Strong and coordinated governance of land and oceans
5. At least halve food loss and waste, in line with global SDGs

To read the full article, click here.


Willett, W., Rockström, J., Loken, B., Springmann, M., 2019. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. EAT-Lancet EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31788-4

Ables, G.P., and Johnson, J.E. (2017). Pleiotropic responses to methionine restriction. Exp Gerontol 94, 83-88.

High Fat Diet Extends Longevity and Healthspan

High Fat Diet Extends Longevity and Healthspan

KD longevity graph

As more people age well past their 70s, researchers have increasingly explored the issues of health and quality of life during aging. A recent mouse study at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine sheds revealed that a high-fat, or ketogenic, diet not only increases longevity, but improves physical strength as well.

Ketogenic diets have gained popularity for a variety of health benefit claims, but scientists are still teasing out what happens during ketosis, when carbohydrate intake is so low that the body shifts from using glucose as the main fuel source to burning fat and producing ketones for energy.

While calorie restriction has been shown to slow aging in many animals, Roberts et. al. were interested in how a high-fat diet may impact the aging process. In their research, they found  a 13% increase in median life span for the mice on a high-fat versus high-carb diet.

The study mice were split into three groups: a regular rodent high-carb diet, a low-carb/high-fat diet, and a ketogenic diet (89-90 percent of total calorie intake). Originally concerned that the high-fat diet would increase weight and decrease lifespan, the researchers kept the calorie count of each diet the same.

In addition to significantly increasing the median lifespan of mice in the study, the ketogenic diet increased memory and motor function, prevented an increase in age-related markers of inflammation, and reduced the incidence of tumors. This indicates that a ketogenic diet can have a major impact on life- and health span without major weight loss or restriction of food intake. It also opens a new avenue for possible dietary interventions that have an impact on aging.

Future studies are warranted to investigate the mechanisms through which this diet works and to optimize diet composition and feeding approaches to further extend healthspan.

NYAS eBriefing now available for Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques

NYAS eBriefing now available for Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques

The New York Academy of Sciences recently announced that the multimedia eBriefing of the symposium, Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques, is now available.

On December 2, the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science and the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences convened the conference Aging and Nutrition: Novel Approaches and Techniques. Leading researchers in the field gathered to discuss the use of established and emerging interventions in nutrition and metabolism to extend lifespan and impact healthy aging.

Academy eBriefings help you stay informed about the new research discussed at NYAS conferences and symposia. Click the link to read highlights of the talks or drill deeper and watch a selection of the speakers’ presentations.