If the world ate the USDA-recommended diet, there wouldn’t be enough land to grow it

August 16, 2018 at 08:19 , by admin

Workers harvest wild blueberries at the Ridgeberry Farm in Appleton, Maine. For the global population to adhere to the USDA dietary guidelines, an additional gigahectare of fertile land — roughly the size of Canada — is required, researchers say. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

If everyone in the world followed the USDA-recommended diet, there wouldn’t be enough agricultural land to grow all the food, a new study has found.

The researchers from the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo, both in Ontario, said an additional gigahectare of fertile land — roughly the size of Canada — would be required to feed everyone, highlighting the fact that dietary guidelines should be based on more than just nutrition.

The study, funded by a Canadian government grant through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, sought to address the issue of sustainability in the global diet.

The researchers drew from current yield data (production, imports and exports by nation) for various crops from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to estimate the amount of land required to grow what the USDA considers a healthy diet low in calories and saturated fats.

“Our analysis shows that there is not enough land for the world to adhere to the USDA guidelines under current agricultural practices,” they wrote in the study, which was published earlier this month in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE. ”This is despite the fact that the USDA guideline diet is already less land-intensive than the current U.S. diet.”

Click here to read the full story originally published by CBC News.

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