How the EAT-Lancet commission report 'Food in the Anthropocene' influenced discourse and research on food systems: a systematic review covering the first two years post-publication

Ayesha I.T. Tulloch, Fiona Borthwick, Diana Bogueva, Mahmoud Eltholth, Amanda Grech, Dylan Edgar, Sinead Boylan, Geraldine Mcneill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: In 2019 the EAT-Lancet Commission’s report ‘Food in the Anthropocene’ defined food-based diet guidelines to improve health while reducing the environmental impact of food systems globally. We reviewed the immediate influence of the report and its recommendations on academic research and publications.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review of articles published from January 2019 to April 2021 in Pub Med, Web of Science, SCOPUS and Google Scholar, which cited the EAT-Lancet report. Of 2560 articles citing the report, we selected 192 articles in which the report’s methodology or recommendations were an integral part of methods, results or discourse. We performed sentiment analysis on articles containing critique of the report, and thematic analysis on research, modelling and review articles. Findings: The report stimulated cross-disciplinary research and academic debate across life, health/medical and social sciences (47%, 42% and 11% of articles respectively). In 76 critique articles, sentiments were on average more positive than negative. Positive sentiments centred on benefits for informing policy, public health, and raising public awareness about links between food, health and the environment. Negative sentiments included insufficient attention to socio-economic dimensions, consumer acceptability, operationalising recommendations and environmental impacts other than emissions. Research articles predominantly evaluated the impacts of changed diets or food production on the environment and/or well-being (29%), compared current diets with EAT-Lancet recommendations (12%), or informed future policy, interventions and research agendas (20%).
Interpretation: Despite limitations in the report’s methodology, scope and implementation feasibility, the academic community supported recommendations. The academic community identified a broad suite of research needs, particularly focusing on the impacts of food processing, socio-economic and political drivers of diet and health, and optimising diet or production for environment and health.
Funding: University of Sydney/University of Edinburgh Partnership Collaboration Award 2020; Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Edinburgh; Australian Research Council Future Fellowship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1125-1136
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Global Health
Issue number7
Early online date20 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


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