A British journal named 'Plos One' states that men's meat-heavy diet contributes to 41% more carbon emissions than women's diets. Titled 'Variations In Greenhouse Gas Emissions Of Individual Diets', the research looks into the connection between our food intake with greenhouse gas emissions.
The report infers 98% of the emissions come from food items that we consume. "Meat explained 32% of diet-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; 15% from drinks, 14% from dairy; and 8% of cakes, biscuits and confectionary," it said. Along with this, non-vegetarian diets amounts to 59% of the existing greenhouse gas on earth, compared to the vegetarian counterpart.
Food Intake And Greenhouse Gas
Food is the ultimate necessity in the world. However, we fail to realise its impact on our planet. According to the United Kingdom (UK) study, global food production contributes to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. "As production efficiency has increased, food system efficiency in sustainably providing nutritious food has declined. The cost of dietary ill-health and environmental degradation now exceeds the economic value of agriculture," the report explains. Each of these diets has an adverse impact on water availability, air and water quality, soil health and biodiversity loss.
The report identified and connected 3233 food items with greenhouse gas emissions. "Nearly a quarter of GHG emissions were associated with elements of the diet that are nutritionally optional, such as drinks, cakes biscuits and confectionery. We also confirmed the lower GHG emissions from vegetarian diets compared to omnivorous diets, which were largely attributable to differences in meat consumption," Plos One journal stated.
An unhealthy diet normally comprises items that are nutrient-poor and have high saturated fat, therefore making it unsustainable in nature. According to the study, a healthy diet should contain, "vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils, with small amounts of seafood and poultry." It also added that it has a minimum amount of red meat as well.
Men's diet contributes 41% more carbon emissions than women's diets. This is dependent not just on the meat intake but on drinks as well. Holly Rippin, a scientist from the University of Leeds was a part of the team that did the research. She told The Guardian, "We all want to do our bit to help save the planet. Working out how to modify our diets is one we can do that. There are broad-brush concepts like reducing our meat intake, particularly red meat, but our work also shows that big gains can be made from small changes, like cutting out sweets."
Climatarian' Diet Sustainable Alternative
Our lifestyle plays an invisible yet integral part in making our earth a better place. In order to lead a balanced life, healthy food habits is an essential aspect along with regular exercise. Several man-made processes are responsible for environmental degradation. In light of this, eco-friendly alternatives have been on a rise. Recent times have seen many making a shift to plant-based food items and becoming 'vegans.' For the unversed, 'veganism' refers to consuming items that do not come from animals. This involves dairy products as well.
Another example of this is what people are calling 'Climatarian' Diet.' As the name suggests, it focuses on food intake aiming to reduce climate footprint. Delhi-based wellness coach and nutrition coach named Eshanka Wani explains this to The Indian Express.
"We can make environmental-friendly choices if people make a shift towards diets such as flexitarian or climatarian that limit or cease over-consumption of products that affect the environment," said Wahi. The diet involves reducing red meat intake. A website called 'Climatarian.com' also added that beef and lamb amount to more greenhouse gas emissions than any other animal-based product.
Not just consumption, this diet also works towards eliminating food waste. "You can reduce your carbon even further with healthy, low carbon options, such as cutting down on meat overall, shopping carefully to avoid food waste and choosing seasonal, local and fresh food," the website said.