Unhealthy diets tend to be bad for the planet, study finds


Cutting out your morning baking and expensive coffee could help fight the climate crisis, finds a study by the University of Leeds released today.

Many less nutritious foods and beverages are responsible for nearly a quarter of diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, the research team found, after studying more than 3,000 generic foods and 40,000 articles. brand.

The study confirms that unhealthy diets also tend to be bad for the planet. Sweets, cakes and cookies represent 8.5% of greenhouse gases linked to food. Beverages such as tea, coffee, and alcohol contribute 15.1% – a combined total of 23.6%.

Previous studies that identified foods with high environmental impact used very broad food groups and linked them to crude estimates of greenhouse gas emissions. This meant that while they were useful in highlighting actions that could be taken at the national or population level, they only provided limited guidance for individuals and families seeking to limit the climate impact of their lifestyle. life.

The work of the Leeds-led team, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, provides a much more detailed picture of the impact of a person’s diet – and the changes each of us can make to our eating habits for fight climate change, while improving our nutrient supply.

We all want to help save the planet and the decisions we make can help save the planet. It is true that we need big cultural changes, such as significantly reducing our consumption of meat and dairy products which together contribute about 46% of our food-related emissions.

However, our work shows that small changes can also produce big gains. You can live a more eco-friendly life just by cutting out sweets and drinking less coffee. “

Dr Holly Rippin, senior author, post-doctoral researcher, Leeds University School of Medicine

Professor Janet Cade of the University’s School of Food and Nutrition Sciences said, “Obesity-related diseases and disabilities are big problems in most Western countries. This detailed study confirms that diets that are better for the health of the planet are better for our own personal health. It also raises more issues regarding food labeling, as different brands of the same product vary in terms of environmental impact. “

Non-vegetarian diets produced 59% more greenhouse gas emissions than vegetarian diets.

The team concludes that a healthy diet based on unprocessed foods, largely plant-based, is also sustainable. They point to the 2019 IPCC report on climate change which suggests that a switch to this type of diet could prevent a fifth of premature adult deaths while reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 80. % 1.

Men’s eating and drinking habits also play a major role, contributing 41% more greenhouse gases than women’s food and drink consumption – largely due to their taste for meat and, to a lesser extent, drinks.

Darren Greenwood of the university’s medical school said: “Other studies have suggested that men’s higher emissions from diet reflect their need for more energy. Unfortunately, it seems they are looking to get those calories from meat rather than low impact foods.

Researchers studied greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and transportation of individual foods and brands, and used the World Health Organization’s Recommended Dietary Intake guidelines to measure nutrients from these foods.

They then analyzed the food and drink consumption of 212 adults registered online using myfood24 over three 24-hour periods.

The research was funded by a prize from the University of Leeds as part of a program to encourage interdisciplinary research that addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Source link


Comments are closed.