The Top Science Papers of 2023 Supporting Plant-Based Nutrition

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As the pandemic of chronic illness worsens and the health of the planet deteriorates, we have a key solution in plain sight. I summarise the evidence supporting diet change for improving population and planetary health and highlight the positive impact for our commonest chronic diseases.

The Times Health Commission reported on the rising level of chronic ill health in the UK. Not only is this negatively impacting quality of life, but is rapidly becoming unaffordable for a health service and economy that are both near or at breaking point. A third of middle aged adults have at least two chronic health conditions. On average we are spending the last decade of our lives in ill health, and for people with lower incomes this can be as long as 20 years. The commission rightly recognises the huge contribution that unhealthy diets and lifestyles are making to this national health crisis. The symptoms of this crisis are the rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in both children and adults, but the report clearly states that ‘diet, a lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol account for around 80 per cent of non-communicable diseases’.

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