I sommer hadde jeg et innlegg i Legeforeningens tidsskriftet.no om hvorfor leger bør fremme kjøttreduksjon. Derfor ble jeg invitert til å holde foredrag på MBA alumni sitt arrangement ved BI! 6. september 2023. Jeg presenterte fakta og kunnskap om betydningen av kjøttreduksjon – for helsen, klima, bærekraftig matproduksjon og rettferdig matfordeling i verden.
Arrangementets tema var: “Sustainable food systems: is cutting red meat consumption a core or a fringe solution?” Eventet favnet flere aspekt ved redusert kjøttforbruk og bærekraft. Også Bob van Oort, seniorforsker ved CICERO Klimaforskningsinstitutt holdte foredrag på arrangementet.
Bærekraftige matsystemer: er det å kutte forbruket av rødt kjøtt en kjerne- eller en frynseløsning?
Det er bred faglig enighet – fra WHO til de nye nordiske kostrådene – at så høyt inntak av kjøtt som i Vesten, Norge inkludert, er altfor høyt – slik at det både er helseskadelig og lite bærekraftig – og bør reduseres. Derfor er svaret ja: Det ER viktig å kutte ned på kjøtt.
Kostrådene i flere land tar i tillegg hensyn til bærekraft når de utarbeider sine kostholdsråd. I Norden er det Danmark sine kostråd fra 2021 som tar hensynet til bærekraft. Og Nordiske kostråd 2023, som er felles både for de nordiske og baltiske landene, og som er verdens nyeste og en av verdens beste kunnskaps-oppsummeringene, gjør det.
Dessverre vil ikke norske myndigheter inkludere bærekraft i sine kommende (i 2024) kostholdsråd. Men det er ganske liten forskjell. Maksimum 350 gram spiseklart rødt kjøtt per uke, og helst ingen bearbeidet kjøtt, verken rødt eller hvitt, er det som anbefales både for helsen og bærekraft.
Ut av bærekraftshensyn anbefales det gjerne enda mindre, en del mindre enn 350 gram rødt kjøtt per uke, og ikke øke inntaket av hvitt kjøtt
Når vi ser at norske husdyr spiser 850 000 tonn importerte næringsrike råvarer (soya, mais, erter, raps) i form av kraftfôr, samt at hele 90 % av norsk dyrket jord brukes til å dyrke husdyrfôr, både gress og kraftfôr, og regner på protein og kaloriene, så er det åpenbart at dette er lite bærekraftig å spise så mye kjøtt som nordmenn gjør.
Her er tekst av foredraget på engelsk:
Red meat is a (big) problem but fortunately easy to replace.
My name is Tanja Kalchenko. I am a doctor, senior physician/senior consultant at Oslo University Hospital. And I am also a leader in Doctors and the nutritional association Food for Health (se matforhelsen.no).
This spring and summer, the Nordic Council of Ministers launched new dietary recommendations – NNR 2023.
And there was a (big nuclear) bomb in our media. Because NNR recommends a large reduction in the consumption of red and processed meat. They recommend a maximum of 350 grams of red meat per week. And the intake of processed meat should be as low as possible. It is because of high cancer risk and risk of some other very common diseases. Stroke, obesity, heart attack, diabetes 2, dementia/Alzheimer. All of them can be influences of the diet.
This reduction is recommended both for health and for the environment/sustainability.
Today, Norwegians eat around 800 grams of red meat a week. And processed meat accounts for approximately 50% of total meat intake.
OK let me quote directly. So what will be left in this report?
“Scientific advice: For health reasons, it is recommended that the consumption of red meat (including red meat in products and processed food) should be low and not exceed 350 grams/week ready-to-eat (cooked) weight.
Processed red meat should be as low as possible.
For environmental reasons, the consumption of red meat should be significantly lower than 350 grams/week (ready-to-eat (cooked) weight).
The choice of meat should be in accordance with the recommendations for fatty acids.
The reduction in the consumption of red meat should not result in increased consumption of white meat.
To minimize the environmental impact, meat consumption should be replaced with increased consumption of plant foods, such as legumes, and fish from sustainably managed stocks.”
The meat threads mean a huge impact on our diet, our eating pattern. Should we trust NNR2023? NNR 2023 has been created by order of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and it integrates both health and environmental/sustainability aspects.
It was open to input from the public. And I and our association have, for example, sent several submissions. The NNR is published openly and anyone can read it, which I recommend.
Nordic nutritional recommendations 2023 is a big report. it is made by 400 researchers, both from these eight countries – Nordic and Baltic – and from all over the world. It has taken four years. The report is based on a systematic review of all existing literature, according to international standards, methodology. It has 36 chapters on nutrients, and 15 chapters on different food groups and health aspects. And it also has a few more sustainability chapters.
What is red meat?
It comes from ruminants and from pigs. It means meat from any animal that has four legs. Both livestock and animals that live in the forest.
Processed meat is, in practice, all ready-to-eat meat products in our groceries, and mincemeat, or mincemeat, with added salt.
Is it really good advice to eat less meat? Norwegian meat lobby does not agree with NNR 2023. In particular, they have these questions they ask all the time:
- What about protein? Does Norway have to import huge quantities of pulses to replace meat?
- Why does NNR 2023 integrate the environment? Doesn’t that mean it will be less healthy? Will there be a compromise?
- Can we trust NNR 2023? The meat lobby says no
- Is it healthy to eat less meat? What should we eat instead? Should we then eat more ultra-processed food?
Who is the meat lobby?
We have Norges Bondelag – Norges Bondelag. It has a board of directors, and 13 of their 13 board members are meat producers. That’s why Aftenposten called the NFA (Farmers’ Association) a 100% meat lobby.
“Does Norway have to import huge amounts of pulses to replace the reduced amount of meat and protein?” It’s not a fair question – the meat lobby seems to be ignorant of a very important, well-documented fact
It is important to know that we can cut our meat consumption in half without any substitution. This is because:
- Norwegians eat much more protein than necessary (roughly twice as much).
- Norway already imports a huge amount of protein to feed livestock.
- Protein is found in all plants, not just legumes.
- 1.2 kg of wild fish per 1 Norwegian per day.
How much protein does a human need to stay healthy?
The requirement is 0.8 grams of protein/kg body weight per day for most children and adults. This means 48 grams for women and 56 grams for men. Top athletes need twice as much. No one needs more than twice as much.
How much protein do Norwegians eat today? Norwegians eat an average of 96 grams of protein a day (as much as top athletes need). That means we can reduce protein a lot.
Where does the protein in the Norwegian diet come from?
27% comes from meat
22 – dairy
22 – grain
10 – fish.
Protein is found in absolutely all plants, not just in legumes or soy.
For example, broccoli provides almost the same amount of protein per calorie as (on average) red meat. there are about 14 grams of protein and only 120 calories in one head of broccoli.
Today, Norway imports 850 000 tonnes of foodstuffs (soya, maize, grain, rapeseed) to feed livestock.
Almost all can be eaten by humans. They are good, healthy and nutritious.
All the numbers are here. You can see details on the website Landbruksdirektoratet.no.
In addition to imports, 90% of Norwegian cultivated land is used for growing livestock feed – both grass and concentrate. This is the truth of Norwegian “grass-fed” meat/animals.
All livestock eat concentrate. not only poultry and pigs, but also cows and sheep eat large amounts, almost half of the total amount of concentrate eaten by livestock in Norway.
Why? That’s because Norwegian summer only lasts four months and winter eight months, which means twice as long. And the animals need to live and eat something all year round, not just in the summer.
Nutrition advice is good, but we need more than advice – we need good policy
Unfortunately, we do not have this policy in Norway today. The meat lobby is very effective and they get what they want, unfortunately.
A very sad fact is that more than 90% of Norwegian agricultural subsidies, which are NOK 25 billion, are used to support livestock production. I strongly recommend you look at this report. The report was written by Ivar Gaasland, he is an economist and he works at BI. Gaasland has also written this article in Aftenposten, and I recommend reading it if you are interested.
We also have Matprat and Matopedia, which are paid to promote meat.
They collect around NOK 75 – 82 million a year to promote meat and eggs, mostly meat. And that is according to Norwegian law.
Healthy and easy to replace!
There is no need for soy or ultra-processed food! Some examples:
- Burger and sausage made of vegetables
- Hummus/purée of legumes
- Salads (not just vegetables)
- Nut butter (organic peanut butter – no sugar, minimum salt) on bread, instead of cheese and liver paste.
- Nordic food is healthy – almost as healthy as Mediterranean food. We have some science about the Nordic diet, or new Nordic diet.
So it’s normal Norwegian food: oats, vegetables – both starchy and leafy, all types of cabbage, rapeseed, peas and beans.
This company, for example, makes healthy burgers from Norwegian vegetables. Burger that grows, they call it. Norwegian vegetables are transformed into healthy burgers and sausages. It’s not difficult, and fast – at the food factory.
Good advice? The conclusion is:
- “Does Norway have to import huge quantities of pulses to replace meat?” No, we do not need to import soy or other pulses
- Environment? Less healthy? No – there is a big agreement between food that is healthy and that is sustainable. Follow the next presentation
- Can we trust such advice? The meat lobby says “no”. Yes, we can – it is made according to high, international, written standards
- Is it healthy? Yes. We don’t need to eat UPF.
Foredrag ved Bob van Oort på MBA alumni BI sitt event
Bob van Oort, seniorforsker ved CICERO Klimaforskningsinstitutt holdte foredrag på arrangementet. Det å følge kostholdsråd om redusert kjøttforbruk vil gi de nødvendige utslippene av klimagasser. Og det er mulig å produsere mer plantekost i Norge.