BECKY RAMSING: Hello, I'm Becky Ramsing. I work at the Center for a Livable Future in the Food Communities and Public Health Program. I'm delighted to be with you today. Over the next few sections, I'm hoping to build a framework for advancing sustainable, healthy diets in the US and globally, and then follow with guidance on how to communicate influence, behavior, and policy change around food consumption. I will be speaking primarily from a practitioner role, given my long career as a registered dietician and health educator. You have likely heard a lot about the environmental and sustainability issues with our modern diets. I'll focus more on nutrition food choices and consumer aspects of sustainability. So why do sustainable diets matter? Achieving a sustainable diet is complex and requires balancing climate, water, and other environmental factors with nutrition, health, and resilience. In this diagram, that looks like a flower surrounded by petals, we see that sustainable diets do not only address the environment and health, but they encompass equity, local and seasonal foods, culture, food security, and access. Currently in the US, our food system is overloaded with foods that increase the risk of obesity and chronic disease, among other health problems. And we've seen the consequences of this from COVID-19, where people who have diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases have been more vulnerable to severe illness. Food access is also a challenge in both high- and low-income countries. Ironically, this includes many people who work in the food sector, smallholder farmers, and food system workers. When it comes to sustainable diets, meat and dairy get the most attention, and for good reason. The evidence is clear that meat and dairy contribute disproportionately to virtually every measure of environmental sustainability in our food system, whether it's land, air, or water. It takes a lot of resources to raise animals for food. Yet, meat and dairy provide only 35% of protein and 18% of calories, globally. Of course, there is an important role for animals in our food system. And done well, and in the right quantities, the right places, and in the right way, animals can make a valuable contribution to nutrition and the health of the planet, but we need to shift the less meat in different types of meat, especially here in the United States. Nutrition should be prioritized in any sustainable diet solution. It plays a key role in health and disease prevention. The figure on the right lists the 10 leading causes of death, globally. At least seven have linkages to diet and other lifestyle factors. In fact, 74% of all deaths in 2019 were due to non-communicable diseases, those without an infectious agent, but instead, associated with a myriad of risk factors, many of them related to what and how people eat. In most cases, foods that are considered healthier are also better for the climate and diet, but it's not always straightforward. A summary of several diet support evidence that diets lower in red and processed meats replaced by different foods lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and total mortality. On the other side, scientific research provides compelling evidence that consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber promotes health and prevents chronic disease. It should be noted that processed meat has the strongest evidence base for adverse health outcomes. In fact, this figure on the right demonstrates that more plant-forward eating patterns such as Mediterranean, pescatarian, and vegetarian significantly lower greenhouse gas footprints compared to current dietary trends, while also having established health benefits. I want to highlight processed meats in particular. There is strong evidence that processed meat, which is mostly sourced from beef and pork, is linked to cardiovascular disease and mortality. And it has the clearest link to cancer of any meat or animal product. In the US, even as consumption of red meat has come down, processed meat has largely remained stable over the past 20 years. This is likely because lunch and deli meats are quick, convenient, and usually cheap and affordable. In a recent study, authors looked at data related to specific food groups and associated health and environmental impacts. The left side of the circular diagram shows health outcomes. The right side shows environmental impacts. Displayed here are the radar plots of the health and environmental impacts per serving of food groups consumed per day. Data are plotted on a rank order axis such that the food group with the lowest mean impact for a given health or environmental indicator has a value of 1, in the innermost circle, and the food group with the highest mean impact for a given indicator has a value of 15, in the outermost circle. A food group with low mean impacts for the 10 outcomes would have a smaller circular radar plot. And the one with the high impact for the 10 outcomes would have a large circular radar plot. As you can see here, red and processed meats have high impacts in all health and environmental areas. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes have lower environmental and health impacts. But dairy, and to some extent, seafood, are mixed, having high environmental impacts, but also many health benefits. Though it may be easier to take a reductionist approach and try to quantify the nutritional and environmental impacts of single foods such as meat, it is important to consider the contribution to quality of the entire diet. In general, the more diverse the diet, the more nutritious it's going to be. A study in seven countries found an association with the nutritional quality of women and children's diets with the number of plant species they consumed. The positive association found between diversity and nutritional quality was consistent across countries, populations, and seasons. This is also consistent with the recent State of Food Insecurity Report, demonstrating the healthy diets were the most diverse diets. They have greater variety of unprocessed or minimally processed foods across food groups, while restricting highly processed foods and drink products.