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294. Double Pyramid of Food System: Healthier Food is Better for the Planet

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The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, a think tank of the Italian Barilla group famous for pasta, has devised a "double pyramid" model of the food systems, a diagram to illustrate a healthy and environmentally sustainable style of eating.

The double pyramid refers to the "health" pyramid and the "climate" pyramid. In the "health" pyramid, shown by the triangle on the left, it is recommended to eat foods located in the larger lower area more frequently. The "climate" pyramid, shown as an inverted triangle on the right, indicates that foods located in the larger areas of the upper pyramid have a greater impact on the environment.

In the health pyramid, the 18 food groups are arranged in seven layers, mainly according to their impact on heart disease (but also considering their impact on general health, their origin by plant and animal, and their nutritional characteristics), and in the climate pyramid according to their carbon footprint.

The side-by-side arrangement of the health and climate pyramids intuitively shows what a balanced, healthy and sustainable diet looks like. It can be seen that foods that are good for health are similar to those that have a low environmental impact. The model aims to encourage people to adopt healthier and more environmentally friendly eating styles, and to reduce the impact of food choices on the environment and climate change.

In addition, a report published last month applies the cultural double pyramid model in different regions, taking into account local food preferences and commonly used ingredients. When working with food systems, health and the environment, as well as cultural context, need to be taken into account.

 

References

Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition. 2021. Double Pyramid. https://www.barillacfn.com/en/dissemination/double_pyramid/ Accessed on May 13.

Barilla Foundation & Research Unit on Nutrition, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Naples Federico II, 2021. A one health approach to food: the Double Pyramid connecting food culture, health and climate. https://www.barillacfn.com/m/publications/a-one-health-approach-to-food… Accessed on May 13.

Contributor: SHIRATORI Sakiko (Information and Public Relations Office)