Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2021

Legumes in a sustainable healthy diet: (How) to be or not to be, that is the question

Opinion paper

By Daniel Borch Ibsen, Lisbeth Mogensen, Milena Corredig, & Christina Catherine Dahm, Aarhus University

One of the staple foods in a healthy and sustainable diet is legumes. The new Danish dietary guidelines recommend a daily intake of 100 g of cooked legumes. This is, however, far from current intakes in the Danish population. The question is then, how should legumes be (or not be) designed to enable this grand dietary transition necessary to contribute to current global sustainability goals? One solution has been to produce legume-based meat replacers. But is this the only trick in the hat? In this opinion, we debate this limited solution, and argue that we just do not have the right information to be able to design the foods for the future. We first outline the new dietary guidelines and the different types and forms of legumes, and highlight the need of processing to reach targets. We expand on current knowledge of the health and sustainability impacts of legumes in their different forms and subsequently outline the large evidence gaps. Lastly, potential solutions are suggested including the types of data needed on health, sustainability and processing, and consideration of further dimensions such food culture, equitability and affordability, in order to design foods to increase the consumption of legumes in the population.    

health, sustainability, food processing, food culture, legumes, plant-based meat substitutes