24.11.2021  |  Samfund

New dietary advice can bring billions in societal gain

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A study from the University of Copenhagen shows that less meat and more vegetables and legumes can provide an annual benefit to society of DKK 12 billion and give Danes more good life years.

Society would be able to collect DKK 12 billion a year in health economic gains if Danes followed the new climate-friendly to a greater extent. One of the most striking new advices in the dietary guidelines is to reduce the intake of red and processed meat to prevent diseases and premature deaths. The Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn highlights multiple benefits for both people’s health and the environment if the intake of red meat is limited.

Better compliance with the new dietary guidelines will prevent approximately 1,000 premature deaths among Danes each year. More fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seafood will benefit the economy, quality of life and longevity. This is shown by a new study carried out by the Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO) at the University of Copenhagen for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

A 38 billion profit if Danes go all-in on the dietary advice

A change in everyone’s diet can lead to a societal benefit of up to DKK 38 billion if all Danes go all-in and fully comply with the dietary guidelines. The economic benefits to society are a combination of fewer costs to health care, more years in the labour market and the value of increased quality of life. According to the study, it is especially lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and several cancers that occur because of inappropriate dietary habits.

The Official Dietary Guidelines – good for health and climate are:

  • Eat plant-rich, varied and not too much
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit
  • Eat less meat – choose legumes and fish
  • Eat wholegrain foods
  • Choose vegetable oils and low-fat dairy products
  • Eat less sweet, salty and fatty food
  • Thirsty? Drink water

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