Author Name: StartRight

Recently The Lancet – one of the prestigious weekly medical journal – published a finding of climate change will represent as the biggest health threat globally in this century. At the same time, chronic diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, and high blood pressure top the charts as the leading cause of death, with the diseases have the common factor – food. Are there ways that we can combat these two separate issues at the same time? Scientist says it’s possible, as they found that the food that eats puts a huge impact to our climate, and drastically changing the way we eat can also affect the climate, at the same time. Here’s how.

The Introduction
Back in the day, the people in South East Asia are associated with undernourishment, poor, and lack in development that the issue we’re facing right now is unthinkable. Fast forward to the present day with the countries are developing rapidly with massive growth that translates to higher average income, it’s no surprise that food consumption and trends have evolved accordingly, with meat consumption has been rising steadily.

Despite the plant-based boom a few years back, the public is still leading towards meat as one of the major components in their daily diet. Yes, even with the pandemic of COVID-19 and the outbreaks of African swine fever in Asia a few months back, the trend is not slowing down, putting pressure on meat production.
Hence, such study is conducted, with interesting, motivating findings.

How The Study Is Conducted
The findings led by UC Santa Barbara research are indeed interesting (and shall we say, a win-win solution?) that the team of scientists that tested out the theory noted that it works – as a continuance of similar studies that shows the effect of diets to both our health and the climate, this particular research looks the potential of mitigating negative effects of climate change by simply changing our diet.

With food supply nowadays that focused more on meat-based consumption and accounts as one of the major greenhouse emissions, it’s not surprising that it contributes to the increasing prevalence of fatal diseases. To put in perspective, $3 trillion are spent each year in US healthcare and most of it is related to poor diet-related factors. Looking at the varieties of dishes and latest food trends in South East Asia and latest numbers that poultry consumption is expected to project up to 150 million tonnes next year, it’s not surprising for similar statistics will happen, as noted that diabetes, cancer, and heart-related diseases top the chart and they’re all have food (poor diet, specifically) as the common factors.

From the study, the researches take common diets and adjusted the number of meats (both red and processed), dividing them in two categories – significantly reduced amount of meats and eliminating them completely, replacing the meat with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and fish, while white meat (such as poultry) is left intact. Simple changes like this are found to have a tremendous impact not just to your health but also to the environment, with the adjusted diet plan shows a significant reduction of risk against various types of cancers, Type 2 diabetes, and heart-related diseases, with greenhouse emission, dropped as high as 800 kilograms per person, annually.

In Conclusion
While the study focuses on American diets, the principle is applicable to South East Asian and we can certainly the major reduction is possible if we can start by simply cutting down meat consumption from our daily diet. Even if it’s once a week like a popular Meatless Monday routine can significantly improve your health, and improving the climate too.
Keyword: food, disease, climate change, south east asia

Reference:
The study in question: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/how-your-diet-affects-climate-change
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-15/southeast-asia-has-a-weight-problem
https://www.dw.com/en/world-food-day-how-changes-in-our-diet-can-help-mitigate-climate-change/a-50796472#:~:text=Researchers%20also%20determined%20that%20a,and%20diary%2C%20but%20not%20fish.

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