New food pyramid focuses more on a vegan based diet
The Flemish Institute of Healthy Living has published a new food pyramid which has turned the ubiquitous food pyramid upside down. On the top of this new pyramid you will primarily find fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts, wholegrains and seeds; dairy products, fish and chicken occupy the middle band, whereas butter and red meat have moved down to the bottom of the new food pyramid. The foods and drinks that you are advised to avoid are fries, soft drinks, processed meat, pizza, sugary desserts, sweets and alcohol, and these are not even listed within the pyramid but in an extra bubble next to the food pyramid. The Flemish Institute of Healthy Living also suggests that we should mainly stick to drinking water to stay healthy and fit. The most interesting conclusion of this new food pyramid is that the new recommended products in the top part of the food pyramid are mostly vegan, and that processed meat is not even part of the food pyramid anymore which is in line with IARC (International Academy for Research on Cancer) food recommendations. The Director of IARC Dr. Christopher Wild confirmed that "findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat". Research conducted by IARC and published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2015 had concluded that red meat is probably carcinogenic to humans and classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans. From a sustainability point of view, the new Flemish food pyramid is also good news as the emission of greenhouse gases of big dairy and meat giants such as JBS, Cargill and Tyson might have exceeded the greenhouse emissions of the whole of France and of the biggest oil companies such as Exxon, BP and Shell in 2016. It is also estimated that greenhouse gases from livestock have surpassed 15% of the total worldwide greenhouse gases, which is more than all emissions from the transport sector. The only solution to tackling this problem is by focusing one’s food consumption on a more vegan diet as suggested by the Flemish Institute of Healthy Living and by supporting products of small farmers. This also means that there is a strong case for government subsidies to go towards supporting small farmers instead of money going to large meat and dairy farms.