Studying sustainable diets with bibliometric analysis for the past thirty-five years
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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, School of the Environment, University of the Aegean, Myrina, Greece
Department of the Environment, School of the Environment, University of the Aegean, Mitilini, Greece
Publication date: 2022-05-27
Corresponding author
Maria Gialeli   

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, School of the Environment, University of the Aegean, GR-81400, Lemnos, Myrina, Greece
Public Health Toxicol 2022;2(Supplement Supplement 1):A109
Thirty-five years have passed since the first introduction of the term ‘sustainable diets’ (SDs) in the scientific literature (1986)1. FAO defined the term in detail, later, at the Declaration of the World Summit (2010)2. Throughout that period (1986–2021), multiple international events (summits, conferences, working groups, agreements) took place and offered knowledge transfer, communication between experts and policy frameworks. In the present study, we describe the ongoing ‘dialogue’ concerning SDs, throughout a methodical review and assessment of the literature. Our goal is to detect temporal trends and turning points of the term ‘Sustainable Diets’3, to detect the collaboration among countries, and identify the role of international organizations and treaties to the production of scientific literature.

Given the continuous increase of studies related to SDs a bibliometric analysis was conducted using a modified version of PRISMA2020 Statement protocol. In total, more than 11,000 scientific documents were published during the period 1977–2024 that were detected in SCOPUS bibliographic database after a designed keyword strategy. The data were extracted, filtered, screened, and the duplicates were removed using R programming. A bibliometric analysis was conducted using the Bibliometrix package in R4 and the VOSviewer software5 and various bibliographic maps were created.

The results obtained confirmed the exponential growth of scientific interest in the subject area. The turning points in the evolution of the publications follow the international timeline of events. Furthermore, covid-19 was highlighted as one of the trend topics due to the pandemic while others (e.g. agriculture) are studied for a decade.

Taking under consideration the key components of SDs, the greatest emphasis of the scientific community was given to sustainability, nutrition, food security, obesity, and health. Aquaculture, climate change, agriculture, food, and food systems are some of the themes that rise the interest of scientists.

Gussow JD, Clancy KL. Dietary guidelines for sustainability. J Nutr Educ. 1986;18(1):1-5. doi:10.1016/S0022-3182(86)80255-2
Burlingame B, Dernini S, eds. Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity, Directions and Solutions for Policy, Research and Action: Proceedings of the International Scientific Symposium Biodiversity and sustainable diets united against hunger, 3–5 November 2010. FAO; 2012. Accessed May 1, 2022.
Johnston JL, Fanzo JC, Cogill B. Understanding sustainable diets: a descriptive analysis of the determinants and processes that influence diets and their impact on health, food security, and environmental sustainability. Adv Nutr. 2014;5(4):418-429. doi:10.3945/an.113.005553
Aria M, Cuccurullo C. bibliometrix: An R-tool for comprehensive science mapping analysis. J Informetr. 2017;11(4):959-975. doi:10.1016/j.joi.2017.08.007
van Eck NJ, Waltman L. Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping. Scientometrics. 2010;84(2):523-538. doi:10.1007/s11192-009-0146-3
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