Flexitarian diet: all the reasons why you should adopt it tomorrow

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Flexitarian diet, have you ever heard of it? If the answer is no, you should read this article and start thinking about adopting it tomorrow. If becoming a vegetarian is difficult for many, switching to this diet may be less so. And the benefits for the planet would be enormous. 



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Flexitarian diet, have you ever heard of it? If the answer is no, you should read this article and start thinking about adopting it tomorrow. If becoming a vegetarian is difficult for many, switching to this diet may be less so. And the benefits for the planet would be enormous.



Together with the reduction of food waste and the improvement of agricultural practices and technologies, a "flexitarian" diet would in fact allow to feed 10 billion people sustainably by 2050. This is the result of new research conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford, according to which adopting this option reduces the risk of exceeding the global environmental limits linked to climate change, the exploitation of agricultural land, fresh water and pollution of the ecosystems through fertilizers. But what does flexetarian mean? And what's the difference with the reducetarian diet?

Index

What does the flexitarian diet consist of?

The flexitarian diet is in many respects reminiscent of the Mediterranean diet, but above all the reducetarian diet, although it is different from both of the latter. In fact, it provides a diet almost exclusively based on vegetables and cereals, without however totally eliminating animal proteins. Meat and fish are consumed, but in very small quantities. The reducetarian diet, we recall, does involve the consumption of meat, albeit to a reduced extent and if purchased of quality.

What does the flexetarian diet mean?

The term “flexitarian” comes from the combination of the words flexibile (flexible) and vegetarian (vegetarian). According to its author, Dr. Dawn Jackson Blatner, this diet therefore offers the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, without having to completely give up on meat. In other words, the flexitarian diet does condemn the abuse of meat, but it does not make it an ethical issue, but a health one, and concludes that meat can be consumed but in small quantities.

How the flexitarian diet works

According to its author, Blatner, those who follow it can also lose up to 15 kg of weight in 6-12 months. The flexitarian diet provides a calorie intake of 1500 kcal (300 for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 150 for each snack and 500 for dinner). Calories that can be reduced to 1200 by eliminating snacks or to 1800 by doubling breakfast.



In his book, The Flexitarian Diet, Blatner also offers a series of recipes and advice on how to manage the diet at the restaurant and in different situations. Basically, three levels of meat reduction are recommended: beginner, advanced or expert. Beginners should refrain from eating meat 2 days a week and have a maximum limit of 700g; advanced people should eliminate it for 3-4 days by limiting its consumption to 500 grams per week while experts should avoid consuming it for 5 days for a total of 250 g per week. No limitation is recommended for fish, the consumption of which, on the contrary, is promoted.

The study, published in Nature, is the first to quantify how food production and consumption affect the Earth and its inhabitants, also describing the environmentally friendly eating habits, beyond which Earth's vital systems could become unstable.

“No single solution is sufficient to avoid crossing planetary boundaries. But when the solutions are implemented together, our research indicates that it may be possible to sustainably feed the growing population, ”explains Dr. Marco Springmann of the University of Oxford, who led the study. “Without concerted action, we have found that the environmental impacts of the food system could increase by 50-90% by 2050 due to population growth and the increase in diets high in fat, sugar and meat. In this case, all the planetary boundaries relating to food production would be exceeded, some more than doubled ".

The study combined environmental data together with a global food system model that can track food production and consumption around the world. With this model, the researchers analyzed several options that could keep the food system within environmental limits.



It turns out that climate change cannot be sufficiently mitigated without it dietary changes based on more plant-based diets. Adopt a type of power supply "flexitarian" globally, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the food system by more than half, as well as other problems resulting from, for example, the use of fertilizers and land overexploitation.

Finally, halving food loss and waste could, if done globally, reduce environmental impacts by up to one sixth (16%).

“Many of the solutions we have analyzed are being implemented in some parts of the world, but they need strong global coordination and rapid development to feel their effects,” says Springmann.

10 reasons to choose the flexetarian diet from tomorrow

  1. Reduce pollution and the emissions related to the meat industry
  2. Health benefits
  3. Less consumption of resources and water
  4. Less use of fertilizers
  5. Learn about new healthy foods
  6. Reduction or elimination of animal abuse
  7. Reduction of deforestation
  8. Less loss of biodiversity
  9. Equitable distribution of food resources
  10. Reduction of food waste

Are you still thinking about it?

READ also:

  • Reducetarians: eat less meat but of quality to protect the environment and health
  • The semi-vegetarian diet extends life and protects the heart

Francesca Mancuso

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