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Authors

  1. Smith Edge, Marianne MS, RDN, FADA, FAND

Abstract

The goal to find sustainable solutions that will produce more and better food with less land, less water, and less labor for years to come is at the forefront of today's food value chain. Numerous academic institutions, food and agriculture organizations, and consumers are focused on addressing this issue, but differences do exist, reflecting a lack of scientific consensus. This article examines conflicts of the sustainability conversation between the "haves" and the "have nots" when it comes to food and especially who should eat more and who less and discusses the challenges of research studies when measuring the impact of diet on environment. Even though the reduction of animal protein intake is the only predictive outcome of many modeling studies, there are others, such as how human health outcomes are evaluated in concert with environmental health and economics, that are equally important factors that must be assessed, especially when comparing studies with each other. The one constant theme is clear-no single solution will address our food system sustainability conundrum without unintended consequences on one or another factor. If we, as a society, are truly committed to providing sustainable diets that are nutrient-dense, affordable, culturally appropriate, and respectful of the environment, collaboration and consensus building among all participants in the total food system are essential.