By reducing food waste, we can protect both our health and the environment
If no action is taken, the cost to Australia will be 87.7 Billion in ten years. Australia’s number one cause of illness is preventable chronic disease. Conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease can be linked to unhealthy diets and lifestyles.
We can also tackle the two issues of obesity and food wastage together.
Avoid overconsumption of food.
The consumption of excess food is not nutritionally necessary, uses precious resources in the food system, and manifests itself as obesity and overweight.
The first of the Australian Dietary Guidelines is
For a healthy weight to be achieved and maintained, you should choose foods and beverages that are nutritious and meet your energy requirements.
In 2013, scientists defined three principles for a sustainable and healthy diet. The first principle was:
Food that exceeds a person’s energy requirements is an environmental burden, causing greenhouse gasses to be released into the atmosphere, the use of natural resources, and putting pressure on biodiversity.
Reduce consumption of processed, packaged foods.
Foods that are ultra-processed not only promote obesity but also pose a serious threat to the environment. It is not just the production and distribution of these products that harm our planet, but also their disposal. The packaging of food (bottles and containers, as well as wrappers) makes up almost two thirds by volume of the total packaging waste.
These ultra-processed food products are high in salt, sugar, fat, calories, and refined sugar. They dominate Australia’s supply of food. These products are marketed and formulated to encourage overconsumption in Australia. This contributes to the obesity epidemic.
Foods that are processed encourage overconsumption, and the packaging is left behind. From www.shutterstock.com
Dietary recommendations for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle encourage the consumption of less processed food, especially those that are highly processed, packaged, and high in energy. It reduces the likelihood of developing dietary imbalances as well as the waste of resources.
Michael Pollan, the author of, said: “Don’t consume anything that your great-grandmother would not recognize as food.”
So what do we need “o do?
The federal government’s National Food Waste Strategy is aiming to reduce food waste by half in Augovernment’s030. A Research Centre has been allocated A$133 Million over the next ten years to help the environment, health sector, and economy work together in order to tackle food waste and obesity.
In their dietary recommendations, other countries such as Brazil or the United Kingdom also acknowledge the relationship between health and sustainability.
Brazil’s five principles state that recommendations for diet must consider the social impact of the production and distribution methods. Qatar’s national dietary guidelines state explicitly, ” Reduce leftovers and waste.”