What’s Going On Here?
In a world-first study released this week, researchers have proven that healthier food choices almost always benefit the environment.
What Does This Mean?
Professor David Tilman and his pals at the University of Minnesota College weighed up both the health and environmental impacts of 15 different food groups, including nuts, fruits, vegetables, red meat, dairy, eggs, fish, olive oil, legumes and sugar-sweetened beverages.
The grub was ranked relative to one another based on how they influence the risk of disease and the negative impact they have on our planet, considering everything from water and land use to greenhouse gas emissions.
Figure 1: Relative environmental impact vs relative risk of mortality
Why Should We Care?
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), concluded that:
- Foods with positive health outcomes, such as whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil have among the lowest environmental impacts
- Foods such as unprocessed and processed red meat, can be especially harmful to both.
- The two rule-breakers were fish, considered a generally healthier food with moderate environmental impacts, and sugar-sweetened beverages, which pose health risks but have a low environmental impact.
More detailed information like this will help consumers, policymakers and food companies make better choices. Take a look at an article we wrote earlier this year about how Danish researchers are developing new carbon food labels to give more information to customers at the point it’s needed most! We think these labels might just stick…. Just as nutrition information helps you pick what’s best for you, a carbon footprint label helps you pick what’s best for the planet.
Now this news DOES NOT come as a HUGE surprise for many of us, but it is wonderful to see that the science backs the logic to go plant based. Please do share this article with a friend, a co-worker or even a fellow bus goer to spread the knowledge.
And if the men in your life are still finding it HARD to make the switch away from red meat, then why not share last week’s article on how eating a plant-based diet can boost your erection by nearly 500%.