It has been touted as the diet that will keep humans and the planet healthy. Now Australian researchers have shown it to be affordable too.
The planetary health plan could save the typical Australian family (two adults, two children) $ 1,800 a year, according to researchers at Deakin University.
“There is often a perception that healthy eating that is also good for the environment is unachievable, in part because it will cost more,” said Tara Goulding, head of research.
“This study shows that Australians can be convinced that it is more affordable to eat a healthy diet that supports the planet, than what they would typically eat.”
I am a planetarian
The Planetary Health Diet came to us in January 2019 and was touted as a science backed diet that would feed billions of people and prevent millions of (health related) deaths. and avoid increasing destruction of the environment.
At the core are fresh, minimally processed foods – in addition to halving red meat consumption while doubling fruit and vegetable consumption.
Sugar gets thrown onto the sidewalk, without saying it.
Besides fresh foods, there are legumes, nuts, and legumes, and small amounts of animal products are allowed – about a beef burger and two servings of fish per week, a little dairy per day and two eggs per week.
When published, it was also adapted to the environmental strengths and weaknesses of each country, as well as the health needs of the population.
Hit the stores
In the age of activated almonds and superfoods, “healthy diets” are often lumped into the overpriced basket.
To show that this isn’t always the case, Ms. Goulding and her team devised a shopping list that would feed the aforementioned household, in addition to checking all the boxes for the diet.
Armed with their shopping lists, they headed online to stack virtual shopping carts at Coles supermarkets across states to account for price differences.
They have done the same with shopping lists that reflect the “typical Australian diet”.
To ensure that both baskets were evenly scaled, the cheapest version of each item was chosen.
They evaluated each basket, then cross-referenced them against the average salary per socio-economic zone.
The bottom line
Ms Goulding’s results showed that low-socioeconomic households had to spend 17% of their income (on average) to buy the planetary food basket, but 21% to eat like a typical Australian.
For higher socioeconomic households, it was 11 percent for the planetary diet and 11 percent for the typical diet.
In dollar terms, the planetary basket costs an average of $ 189.20 per week, compared to $ 224.66.
“We really hope these results convince shoppers that making healthier, more sustainable choices in the supermarket won’t blow up their food budgets,” Ms. Goulding said.
The authors recognized that the planetary diet, due to its reliance on fresh, whole foods, involves more preparation time and, to some extent, cooking skills.
It also ignored dietary requirements that might force some shoppers to seek out more expensive items.