Hey Reddit - If the global population adopted recommended USDA dietary guidelines, there wouldn’t be enough land to provide the food required, according to a new study co-authored by University of Guelph researchers. We are those co-authors!

AMA will be live 12:45-1:45pm ET (8/10/2018).

Edit: Thanks for all the great questions that have continued to flow in after we were live. We will reply to as many as can over the next day!

Edit 2: Wow, thank you for all the great questions that have come in! We're going to tackle these this morning and then we'll bring this to an end.

Edit 3: Thank you again for the thought provoking questions, we're so delighted by your interest in our work! We're closing this now and we hope you have a great Saturday!

My name is Madhur Anand – I’m a Professor and Director of the Global Ecological Change & Sustainability laboratory in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, and Director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. My research looks at response of ecological systems to global ecological change, which can be anything from climate change to land-use changes, and on modelling the sustainability of complex human-environment systems.

My name is Evan Fraser – I’m a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and a professor of geography at the University of Guelph. My research looks at food sustainability and food security as we try to feed a growing population. I'll be following along from my account feedingninebillion.

Link to the release on this study (August 9, 2018): https://news.uoguelph.ca/2018/08/north-american-diets-require-land-study/

Madhur Anand proof (responding from @FoodfromThought): https://twitter.com/globalecochange/status/1027940018822754305

Evan Fraser proof (responding from @feedingninebillion): https://twitter.com/Feeding9Billion/status/1027938616910143488

Comments: 751 • Responses: 7  • Date: 

PinkLouie37 karma

What would be the ideal alternative to feed the world with the least impact?

FoodfromThought29 karma

Madhur Anand here- Great question! We would love to see more research on this and hope our paper inspires this work. Our current paper does allude to a substantial increase in plant-based protein. Evan Fraser and I, along with many other colleagues, are working on another paper that addresses this topic. Stay tuned!

coryrenton36 karma

are there comparative studies for other kinds of food guidelines?

FoodfromThought25 karma

We were not aware of any when we published our work, but we think that would be a great research question.

Cautemoc20 karma

Do you believe that the expanded use of insect protein sourcing could bring this closer to being possible? Do you think the largest hurdle for that would be cultural acceptance or that there are better alternatives?

FoodfromThought10 karma

Hello, Madhur Anand here. This question goes a bit beyond the scope of our research paper, but it's still a good one. I am aware of many papers and books on this specific subject, including our University of Guelph colleague's book "Eat the Beetles!" (by David Waltner-Toews).

420skipow3 karma

Super cool study!

I think it’s imperative that the scientific community take the first steps in developing methodologies that can be applied at a global level. A truly unique opportunity to do things right at least pertaining to scientific scrutiny.

What methods of farming were these findings based off of? Did you split it up by region? Basically what I’m asking is, is this finding assuming that we’re farming each bit of land to its maximum potential or just with the methods we currently employ regionally?

I have a vegetarian friend that says if we were to all eat plants we’d have plenty of food because we wouldn’t lose energy in the transfer through trophic levels. I’m sure you have some insight on this. How much energy would this save? To be nutritionally balanced we’d need high protein crops, chicken is pound for pound the highest protein rich substance we consume. Could it really be that simple to just cut out meat and grow more beans? Or is there some merit to the natural biological processes that can take something like grain feed that we give to chickens and turn it into protein?

FoodfromThought9 karma

There are several questions here, but to be quick, and in reference to the published paper (which you can access for free online if you wish), we worked with current yield data, not potential yield data. We did look at differences between nations in this regard. In other words, what things look like today.

FoodfromThought-8 karma

Hello, Madhur Anand (follow me on Twitter @globalecochange). If your are looking for our original research paper (it's open access!), please have a look here: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200781&type=printable