Optimal Dietary Lifestyle for Human and Planetary Health Statement

Approved by ACLM’s Board of Directors March 2021

Optimal Dietary Lifestyle for Human and Planetary Health

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine acknowledges that the leading cause of chronic disease and the leading cause of so many of our most pressing global sustainability issues is one and the same: our Western pattern diet.1-3 Shifting to a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle is optimal in order to protect human health and fight disease;4,5 this dietary lifestyle pattern is also what is best for the planet, enabling us to preserve our precious natural resources, rein in greenhouse gas emissions, and feed what soon will be over nine billion people on the face of the earth.6-8



1. Bodirsky BL, Dietrich JP, Martinelli E, et al. The ongoing nutrition transition thwarts longterm targets for food security, public health and environmental protection. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):19778.

2. Clark MA, Springmann M, Hill J, Tilman D. Multiple health and environmental impacts of foods. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019;116(46):23357-23362.

3. Sáez-Almendros S, Obrador B, Bach-Faig A, Serra-Majem L. Environmental footprints of Mediterranean versus Western dietary patterns: beyond the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Environmental Health. 2013;12(1):118.

4. Cena H, Calder PC. Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for The Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2020;12(2).

5. Rocha JP, Laster J, Parag B, Shah NU. Multiple Health Benefits and Minimal Risks Associated with Vegetarian Diets. Curr Nutr Rep. 2019;8(4):374-381.

6. Hayek MN, Harwatt H, Ripple WJ, Mueller ND. The carbon opportunity cost of animalsourced food production on land. Nature Sustainability. 2021;4(1):21-24.

7. Watts N, Amann M, Arnell N, et al. The 2020 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: responding to converging crises. Lancet. 2021;397(10269):129-170.

8. Katz DL. Plant-Based Diets for Reversing Disease and Saving the Planet: Past, Present, and Future. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(Suppl_4):S304-s307.