Does new global diet doom us?

There’s a new diet that is picking up speed – the globalization diet. Unlike its celebrity-endorsed counterparts, the so-called globalization diet isn’t exactly the type of diet everyone is looking for to lose those few extra pounds. In fact, this diet seems to be causing more harm than good in that it could be potentially contributing to the rise in world health problems – including global obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

A study, based on 50 years of research from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has found that “national food supplies globally have become increasingly similar in composition, based upon a suite of truly global crop plants.”

This may sound great for the world-traveler/picky eater to have diets based upon major crops such as rice, potatoes, sugar and wheat (which is now a key food in more than 97% of countries, according to the study). But, it could also potentially be dangerous as the world is now more vulnerable to disease, pests and climate change.

Furthermore, the diversity is gone in the products we consume, according to some European Union officials. Their take on the FAO data? “The diversity of cultivated crops declined by 75% during the 20th century, and a third of today’s diversity could disappear by 2050.”

In all fairness, there is one huge plus side to all of this: these crops are a major player in tackling world hunger. Just make sure to keep in mind that this shift in the way the world eats is causing a decline in once-major crops such as millets, rye, yams and sweet potatoes and the possible acceleration in non-communicable diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes) worldwide.

With more than a few strikes against this “diet,” is there any hope for a diverse food future? They study doesn’t say, but one thing is for certain: the food landscape is changing worldwide – and quickly.

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