Make you Fink on Friday

Eating green may not be green

GOOD BUT GREEN? Scientists have long advised people to switch to a plant-based diet to benefit the environment but that may not be borne out by research.

A nutritious diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables might not be the greenest in its environmental impact, according to a new study.

After analysing the eating habits of about 2,000 French adults, and the greenhouse gas emissions generated by producing the plants, fish, meat, fowl and other ingredients, researchers concluded that widely embraced goals for the health of people and for the health of the planet are not necessarily perfectly compatible.

Growing fruit and vegetables doesn’t produce as much greenhouse gas as raising cattle or livestock, the study confirms, but people who eat a primarily plant-based diet make up for that by eating more of those foods.

“When you eat healthy, you have to eat a lot of food that has a low content of energy. You have to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables,” said Nicole Darmon, the study’s senior author from the National Research Institute of Agronomy in Marseille, France.

Greenhouse gases – which include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – are produced by machines that burn fossil fuels. That gas is then released into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change.

Food production – including the use of farming equipment and transportation – is estimated to be responsible for 15 per cent to 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, the authors write in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Scientists have long advised people to switch to a plant-based diet to benefit the environment and their own health.

To more closely examine that premise, Darmon and her colleagues used food diaries from 1,918 French adults to compare the nutritional quality of people’s real-world diets and how much greenhouse gas they produced.

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Comment:

Which is roughly what I have suggested here in the past.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Ah, but if you grow your own you can control the costs to the environment.

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