The Eat-Lancet report commanded the airwaves recently with its proposal for a new, global, one-size-fits-all diet, which it grandiosely calls ‘The Great Food Transformation’. It is without precedent because it advocates a dramatic shift away from the time-honoured omnivore diet, based on all food groups, including animal foods, to “plant-based” eating.
But Eat-Lancet isn’t a vegetable rich diet: it tells us to get only three per cent of our calories from vegetables while recommending that half of what we consume should come from wheat, grains, and soya. It drastically restricts animal foods. We’re allowed an egg and a half each week, not more than a daily mouthful of red meat.
Eat-Lancet actually permits us to consume more sugar than red meat. This alone should alert us to what is, in essence, a processed food diet reinvented as saviour of planetary and human health.
A number of authoritative nutrition experts warn that it is a recipe for nutritional deficit and ill health. As Dr Georgia Ede points out, Eat-Lancet admits that its diet doesn’t provide adequate nutrition for growing children, adolescent girls, pregnant women, ageing adults, the malnourished, and the impoverished. Even able-bodied adults who adopted it would have to take vitamin B12 supplements. And analysing it using the US reference values for micronutrients, Dr Zoe Harcombe concludes that anyone who followed it would become deficient not only in B12, but also in vitamins D3, K2, potassium, sodium, calcium, heme iron, and essential fatty acids.
How did a diet that can’t sustain healthy human life get such airtime? Mainstream media have let citizens down here by reporting Eat-Lancet as though it were incontrovertible, scientific truth, when this initiative is driven by a small group of self-appointed academic ‘experts’ who do not represent the wider scientific community. Four out of every five of them is on record as being supportive of a plant food perspective and the fashionable anti-meat narrative; many of them are vegans or vegetarians.
The Eat-Lancet report itself was funded by The Wellcome Trust, whose founder, Henry Wellcome, was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist (a Millennialist Christian group) that preaches vegetarianism and shuns red meat. Furthermore, Wellcome made his wealth in the pharmaceutical industry. Cynics would say pharmaceutical companies stand to benefit from illness, not health, while Wellcome comes from a set of a values already favourable to vegetarianism.
But how has Eat-Lancet managed to finance all its slick promotional launches in no fewer than 40 countries? While the report was solely funded by the Wellcome Trust, the costly propaganda offensive appears to be bankrolled by the Eat Foundation, spearheaded by a Norwegian supermodel turned medic who is married to a billionaire. Eat has a partnership with Fresh, a body made up of 40 of the world’s most powerful corporations, a roll call of the big names in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, GM, and ultra-processed food. They include Bayer, which now owns Monsanto and its infamous Round-Up (glyphosate) pesticide, Big Sugar (PepsiCo), Big Grain (Cargill), palm oil companies, and leading manufacturers of food additives and processing aids.
Environmental champion Vandana Shiva, who has challenged the “plant-based is best” mantra, refers to them as, “the Poison Cartel”, companies “who have together contributed up to 50 per cent greenhouse gases, leading to climate change, and the chronic disease epidemic related to chemicals in food, loss in diversity in the diet, industrially processed junk food, and fake food.”
Shiva rightly accuses Eat-Lancet of “evading the glaring chronic disease epidemic related to pesticides and toxics in food, imposed by chemically intensive industrial agriculture and food systems.”
So before you swallow Eat-Lancet, as with any other commercially-driven food product, you might want scrutinise the label more closely. Caveat emptor: it might put you off.