Why milk, meat and eggs can make a big difference to the world’s most nutritionally vulnerable people

Illustrations by (left to right): Thomas Slater, Fideli Sundqvist and Brian Cairns.

Opinion piece by Silvia Alonso, an ILRI scientist, first published by the Inter Press Service News Agency on 1 Jun 2018.

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the growing demands being made of our planet, more and more of us are making lifestyle choices to reduce our negative environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Understandably, this has led to calls for changes to our diets, including reducing the amount of livestock-derived foods, such as meat, milk and eggs, that we consume.

However, a new, extensive review of research published on 1 Jun 2018 has found that these foods can make an important difference to nutritional well-being in the first 1,000 days of life, with life-long benefits, particularly in vulnerable communities in low-income countries.

The report, by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security, highlights the unmet potential for food from livestock origin to contribute to better health and nutrition when included in the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants in resource-scarce settings.