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Unilever calls for better plant-based diet through public health strategies
Unilever scientists are prompting public health officials to facilitate the transition to a balanced diet with more diverse nutrient-dense plant foods through consumer education, food fortification, and supplementation.
They also emphasized that plant-based diets are generally better for health and the environment.
Plant-based diets were higher in essential nutrients like fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium.
However, their intake and status of vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and bone turnover markers were generally lower.
They also had lower protein intake, although still within the recommended intake levels, and lower intake levels of EPA and DHA than meat-eaters.
Ans Eilander, the lead scientist at Unilever and a study author, explains that in plant-based meat alternatives, fortification helps add nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, and iodine that are more difficult to get from some plant-based foods.
Additionally, Eilander notes that consumer education is key in promoting a diverse nutrient-dense diet incorporating more plant-based foods.
Eilander added that while it’s not up for the F&B industry to decide for people what they want to eat, it is up for them to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all.