North American diets require more land than we have

If the global population adopted recommended North American dietary guidelines, there wouldn’t be enough land to provide the food required, according to a new study co-authored by University of Guelph researchers.

Global adherence to United States Department of Agriculture guidelines would require one giga-hectare of additional land—roughly the size of Canada—under current farming practice.

“It is unsustainable,” says Prof. Madhur Anand, a professor in U of G’s School of Environmental Sciences and director of the Global Ecological Change and Sustainability lab.

“We need to look at diet not just as an individual health issue but as an ecosystem health issue.”