Small Dietary Changes Can Lower Carbon Footprint

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Total carbon footprint in United States would be reduced by >35 percent if all consumers switched to lower carbon substitute

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Making small dietary changes can lower the carbon footprint, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in Nature Food.

Anna H. Grummon, Ph.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues used dietary intake data from a sample of 7,753 U.S. children and adults to identify simple, actionable dietary substitutions from higher- to lower-carbon foods (such as substituting chicken for beef in mixed dishes). The potential impact of these substitutions was simulated on dietary carbon emissions and dietary quality.

The researchers found that the total dietary carbon footprint in the United States would be reduced by more than 35 percent if all consumers who ate the high-carbon foods consumed a lower-carbon substitute. Consumers’ overall dietary quality would be improved by 4 to 10 percent if these substitutions were adopted, with benefits projected for all age, gender, and racial and ethnic groups.

“It’s really a win-win,” Grummon said in a statement. “If you are a person who wants to make a dietary change for either health or environmental reasons and you make the changes that we propose, you’re likely to see the benefits you want.”

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