Eating healthy diet also good for environment, study finds


Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment.

To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency.

Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water.

After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent. 

Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent.

“The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement

As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein. 

But they say the overall benefits would still be positive. 

“Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

‘The Bonfire,’ ‘Unmasked’ and ‘The Jackie and Laurie Show’ podcasts will all record live at Moontower Comedy
‘The Bonfire,’ ‘Unmasked’ and ‘The Jackie and Laurie Show’ podcasts will all record live at Moontower Comedy

SiriusXM’s “The Bonfire” with Dan Soder and Big Jay Oakerson, “Unmasked” with Ron Bennington, “The Jackie and Laurie Show” with Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin, “Raised by TV” with Lauren Lapkus and Jon Gabrus and several more podcasts have all lined up to record live episodes at the Moontower...
Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards
Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards. The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016.  >> Read more trending news  Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales...
Plan ahead for family fun in Austin in March, especially for spring break
Plan ahead for family fun in Austin in March, especially for spring break

You’ll find a lot of things to do with the kids this March. Expect many more activities the week of spring break — March 12-16 — to help you keep kids busy when school is out. Check out these events: Bullfighter Wacy Munsellbulllooks for an opportunity to distract a bull named 805 Major Malfunction As fighter Lance Brittan...
Randy Wicker roared as UT student activist in the 1950s
Randy Wicker roared as UT student activist in the 1950s

Randy Wicker, a nationally recognized gay journalist and businessman who had been a radical student activist on the University of Texas campus during the 1950s, was having no luck in his quest to share his singular life story with current LGBT student groups in Austin. Then came a minor miracle. After a good deal of missed chances during a recent visit...
Weeping yaupon, like a living piece of art
Weeping yaupon, like a living piece of art

The weeping yaupon holly is beyond stunning right now. No, the weeping plant wasn’t nuked or genetically modified to obtain that graceful appearance. It was found naturally and native and then simply propagated vegetatively by cutting. Yaupons are native geographically in almost a third of North America. Botanically speaking they are Known as...
More Stories