Letter: Bio-fuels and plant-based diets

As skyrocketing food prices create political instability around the world, Americans are debating whether it's more important to produce bio-fuels like ethanol or crops to feed the hungry. Resolving the dilemma will require innovative thinking. As a dietitian, I know that switching to a plant-based diet should be part of the solution.

On average, it takes more than seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and four pounds of grain to yield one pound of pork. Cutting back on our meat consumption could free up grain and other food supplies for human consumption. Our personal health also stands to benefit. Studies indicate that people who follow a plant-based diet are slimmer than meat eaters and have a significantly reduced risk of chronic disease.

Three's no question that the United States and the international community need to take a swift action to abate world hunger. The good news is that each of us can play a part in easing the situation. Switching to a plant-based diet might be the single most important step we can take to improve human health and ensure that other people around the world have enough to eat.

Susan Levin, M.S.

Washington, D.C