The Truth About The Planetary Diet

While you've probably heard about popular diets like keto and Whole30, you may not be familiar with the Planetary diet. This eating plan focuses on changing the way we eat in order to save the planet.

Created by a team of 37 scientists from around the world called the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health, this science-backed diet aims to use sustainable food sources that are shown to improve health. Ideally, most of a person's daily food intake should come from plants, especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Meat and eggs are allowed sparingly.

According to registered dietitian and author Frances Largeman-Roth, the Planetary diet is similar to a vegan or vegetarian diet, but does allow small amounts of poultry, fish, dairy, and other animal products. "It's not restrictive and includes a wide variety of foods," Largeman-Roth shared with Today.

Similar to the USDA's MyPlate program, the Planetary diet is illustrated with a plate that is half-full with fruits and vegetables. Whole grains occupy about one-sixth of the plate while plant- and animal-sourced protein, unsaturated plant oils, added sugars, dairy foods, and starchy vegetables take up the remaining third.

Critics think the diet has good intentions but isn't perfect

The EAT-Lancet Commission said they developed the Planetary diet after reviewing the "best available evidence on diet and human health." However, according to BBC Good Food, some experts believe this research is outdated. Other critics say that only allowing a tiny portion of animal protein each day can lead to vitamin B12, retinol, vitamin D, and calcium deficiencies.

The EAT-Lancet Commission has said that while the Planetary diet should be sufficient for most people's nutritional needs, it has not been studied in children under the age of 2, adolescent women, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. They have also noted that minimal consumption of animal products can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency that can be corrected with a supplement, which is common for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Ultimately, the Planetary diet is a flexible option that allows for a wide range of food options. The research suggesting it can help save our natural resources is an added bonus. Feel free to give it a try, but make sure to talk to your doctor first before making any dietary changes.