Eco-friendly Diet Might Reduce the Risk of Premature Death by 30%: Recent Study


A recent study highlights the connection between the Planetary Health Diet and increased lifespan, urging Americans to be mindful of their dietary choices. According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on June 10, 2024, the optimal diet for health is also beneficial for the planet. The study suggests that a diet rich in plant-based whole foods with limited meat and dairy consumption can reduce the risk of premature death by 30%. This is particularly relevant as premature death from the top five killers in the U.S. has been on the rise since 2019.

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examined the long-term effects of following the dietary guidelines from the 2019 EAT-Lancet report. This diet, known as the Planetary Health Diet (PHD), emphasizes plant-based whole foods while allowing for moderate meat and dairy consumption. A planetary health plate consists of half fruits and vegetables, with the other half primarily comprising whole grains, plant protein, unsaturated plant oils, and a small amount of animal protein.

With climate change threatening our planet, the food system’s role in environmental degradation is significant. Walter Willett, M.D., a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, stated, “Climate change has our planet on track for ecological disaster, and our food system plays a major role. Shifting how we eat can help slow the process of climate change. What’s healthiest for the planet is also healthiest for humans.”

Unlike previous studies that relied on one-time dietary assessments, this research analyzed health data from over 200,000 participants in long-term cohort studies, tracking their diets over extended periods, sometimes decades. The researchers looked into the relationship between adhering to the PHD and the risk of premature death.

Participants who closely followed the PHD experienced a 30% lower risk of premature death compared to those with lower adherence. This significant reduction in mortality spans all major causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, underscoring the profound impact dietary choices can have on health and longevity.

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