How can huge populations be fed healthily, equitably and affordably while maintaining the ecosystems on which life depends? The evidence of diet’s impact on public health and the environment has grown in recent decades, yet changing food supply, consumer habits and economic aspirations proves hard.

This book explores what is meant by sustainable diets and why this has to be the goal for the Anthropocene, the current era in which human activities are driving the mismatch of humans and the planet. Food production and consumption are key drivers of transitions already underway, yet policy makers hesitate to reshape public eating habits and tackle the unsustainability of the global food system.

The authors propose a multi-criteria approach to sustainable diets, giving equal weight to nutrition and public health, the environment, socio-cultural issues, food quality, economics and governance. This six-pronged approach to sustainable diets brings order and rationality to what either is seen as too complex to handle or is addressed simplistically and ineffectually. The book provides a major overview of this vibrant issue of interdisciplinary and public interest. It outlines the reasons for concern and how actors throughout the food system (governments, producers, civil society and consumers) must engage with (un)sustainable diets.

chapter |6 pages


What’s the problem?

chapter 1|24 pages

Sustainable diets

Welcome to the arguments

chapter 2|45 pages


Measuring what matters while not drowning in complexity

chapter 3|43 pages


Nutrition science and the messy effects of diet on health

chapter 4|48 pages


Why food drives ecosystem stress

chapter 5|36 pages

Culture and society

The social conditions shaping eating patterns

chapter 6|22 pages

Food quality

Everyone likes their own food

chapter 7|34 pages

Real food economics

Runaway costs and concentration

chapter 8|67 pages

Policy and governance

Will anyone unlock the consumption lock-in?

chapter 9|17 pages


Why sustainable diets matter now