INFOGRAPHIC

Biodiversity and dietary diversity: Are we running a race to the bottom?

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/JoaBal
© GettyImages/JoaBal

Related tags: Biodiversity, Dietary diversity, Whole foods, World health organisation, Food and agriculture organisation, Environment

Despite living on a planet with 50,000 edible plants, 60% of our energy intake comes from just three: rice, maize and wheat. What is this lack of dietary diversity doing to our health and the environment?

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The graph above shows the global availability of food expressed as a percentage of our global need if each individual had a low-risk diet. It is clear that we are over-producing some foods and under-producing others – a massive 568% red meat​, 154% whole grains​ and 148% fish​, yet only 89% vegetables​, 66% fruit​, 51% milk​ and 42% nuts and seeds.

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According to FAO and WHO 2014 statistics, an estimated two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies​ or ‘hidden hunger’ while more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight​ and 600 million of these are obese​.

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