Climate change is a threat to human health.
This week’s photograph was taken in Washington, DC (of course). The photograph below is the impact on my blood sugar levels of this glycemic index 0 meal (I skipped the sauce)
What is the/my Sustainable Diet?
I don’t have an answer to this question.
And, I would argue, neither do the overwhelming majority of my physician colleagues.
Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.Dietary guidelines and sustainability | Food-based dietary guidelines | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
A sustainable food system (SFS) is a food system that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.Nguyen H. Sustainable food systems Concept and framework [Internet]. 2018.
For me, being normoglycemic is consistent with metabolic health. It prevents the use of pharmaceuticals (and construction of pharmaceutical factories), which contribute to carbon in the atmosphere:
GWP* and Methane
Doctors love designers. Doctors also love climate scientists and forage agronomists. They are also para-health professionals working to help us understand health in all its facets.
A new usage of GWP100 [Global Warming Potential], denoted GWP*, captures methane’s short-lived behaviour by equating a permanent increase of one tonne per year in the rate of emission of methane with a one-off release of 100 x GWP100 tonnes of CO2. This better reflects its climate impact.Cain M, Allen MR. Climate metrics for ruminant livestock [Internet]. 2018
I understand the measure and feel comfortable explaining it to a physician colleague. Since this is the internet, might as well get it here from the scientists at @OxMartinSchool, via Dr. Michelle Cain (@civiltalker).
I think the time has come to attempt a thread to explain our GWP* paper. I sense it's going to be long, as the topic is more suited to a 45-min seminar (30 at a push)… If you are keen on #methane and what the Paris Agreement means, this is for you. Otherwise, scroll on! 0/n
I also credit the work of Frank Mitloehner (@GHGguru) who I’ve never met in person, and Peter Ballerstadt (@Grassbased), who I’ve met many times in person, because he’s been at the side of doctors, teaching us, open to any and all queries, showing us the science of agriculture, that in many ways is more developed than (human) medical science. Bob Howarth (@Howarth_Cornell) has produced very helpful work regarding methane. We need each other.
In Search Of…
I am not interpreting the above to mean that beef production is carbon neutral or carbon advantageous over other forms of food production. However, in my review of papers modeling sustainable diets, I find that they:
- May not be using the correct carbon accounting scheme for different types of foods (see above)
- Use unvalidated measures of “nutrient density” or don’t account for nutrient density at all
- Measure diet quality against national guidelines that are not scientifically valid
- Don’t address the fact that many of the modeled diets are higher in carbohydrates and sugar which may result in greater health care use (health care ties agriculture for carbon emissions in the United States)
I look forward to continued scholarship in this space, especially that which ties human health to planetary health, which are inextricably linked. When we focus on one or the other, we are left with policies like this one (“Meat: No, Diabetes: Yes”)
References – GWP*
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Beef brisket & brussels sprouts (skipped the sauce) – low-carboydrate…. … which keeps them from raising blood sugar’ … which keeps diabetes from happening … which reduces the need for pharmaceutical factories … methane? happy to explain the difference between GWP and GWP* not pictured: I am #carfree and cancelled one transcontinental flight last year, an additional 2MtCO2 savings…🕊✌️😀 References and images: https://instagram.tedeytan.com #LowCarbon #LCHF #OnePlanet #FatAdapted #MetabolicHealth #Yes2Meat #PlantBased & #PlantFree #DiabetesPrevention #DiabetesReversal #Science #RealFood #FoodNotPharma