Abstract Sustainable diets are a prerequisite for public health directly through their impact on nutrition and indirectly through their impact on the environment. Dietary patterns have implications for the use of finite resources, biodiversity and the production of waste including greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, these environmental implications affect the quantity, quality, safety and diversity of the food supply, food and nutrition security and, ultimately, public health. In this chapter we present a review that: conceptualizes the relationship between sustainable diets and public health; describes current dietary patterns and their impacts on the environment and nutrition; explains the characteristics of sustainable diets for protecting public health; and provides policy and practice suggestions for promoting sustainable diets. Current diets have been shaped by transitions in the supply of and demand for food driven by economic, agricultural and food policies, combining with technological innovations and the interests of powerful transnational corporations. The diets are characterized by over consumption and, in particular, a relatively high consumption of animal sourced foods, vegetable oils, caloric sweeteners and ultra-processed food products. These food supply transitions are both a cause and effect of once food literate citizens who were actively engaged with food supply chains becoming progressively passive food consumers whose food demands are mediated via external influencers. Consequently, current diets are having adverse impacts on the environment and nutrition. They are non-sustainable and the leading contributors to the global burden of disease. The literature consistently identifies four key characteristics of sustainable diets to promote public health: moderate consumption; shift current dietary patterns to more plant-based diets; reduce consumption of ultraprocessed food products; and reduce food waste. Priority activities for promoting sustainable diets for public health are: policies to promote sustainable diets; empowering people to consume sustainable diets; and research to better understand and promote sustainable diets.

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