How the EAT–Lancet Commission on food in the Anthropocene influenced discourse and research on food systems: a systematic review covering the first 2 years post-publication

Elsevier, The Lancet Global Health, Volume 11, July 2023
Tulloch A.I.T., Borthwick F., Bogueva D., Eltholth M., Grech A., Edgar D. et al.

In 2019, the EAT–Lancet Commission's report on food in the Anthropocene presented a planetary heath diet to improve health while reducing the environmental effect of food systems globally. We assessed EAT–Lancet's immediate influence on academic research and debate by conducting a systematic review of articles citing the Commission and others published from January, 2019, to April, 2021. The Commission influenced methods, results, or discourse for 192 (7·5%) of 2560 citing articles, stimulating cross-disciplinary research and debate across life sciences (47%), health and medical sciences (42%), and social sciences (11%). Sentiment analysis of 76 critiquing articles indicated that opinions were, on average, more positive than negative. Positive sentiments centred on benefits for informing policy, public health, and raising public awareness. Negative sentiments included insufficient attention to socioeconomic dimensions, feasibility, and environmental effects other than emissions. Empirical articles predominantly evaluated the effects of changed diets or food production on the environment and wellbeing (29%), compared current diets with EAT–Lancet recommendations (12%), or informed future policy and research agendas (20%). Despite limitations in EAT–Lancet's method, scope, and implementation feasibility, the academic community supported these recommendations. A broad suite of research needs was identified focusing on the effects of food processing, socioeconomic and political drivers of diet and health, and optimising consumption or production for environment and health.