Our busy lifestyles often encourage us to eat food that is not considered to be healthy. Many countries have spent decades fighting unhealthy lifestyles, as it can lead to obesity, and obesity can lead to various, life-threatening health issues. That’s why the government, in some countries, has encouraged their citizens to eat healthier diets and to exercise more frequently. However, scientists encourage people to have health-friendly diets to not only improve people’s health but they believe it is crucial toward a healthy environment also.
The study has been published in PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and it encourages us to keep the environment healthy and green with our diet. The processes of growing, processing, and transporting food to households impacts our environment with a 20-39% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, use of land, and polluted water, researchers stressed.
A team of researchers from the Netherlands conducted the study suggesting that a healthier diet contributes to a healthy environment, suggesting that following government-suggested diets could help lower greenhouse gas emissions at least in some countries. A report on National Public Radio reveals that researchers made a database of high, medium, and low-income nations, comparing the impact on the environment, based on what they eat.
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They found that the richest countries around the world could contribute toward cutting greenhouse gas emission the most, by listening to and applying the advice of their government. Researchers say that if they ate less meat, poultry, and eggs, the greenhouse gas emissions could be brought down by 13-25%, while freeing up about 17% of land for nature.
“At least in high-income countries, a healthier diet leads to a healthier environment,” said Paul Behrens, an environmental scientist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who led the study. “It’s a win-win.”
Behrens wanted to know what would happen if people from 37 different countries stuck to the recommended diets recommended by their governments. He published his findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The government diet recommends eating less of certain types of foods. However, it doesn’t suggest how much less in particular. For the sake of analysis, the calorie count for either current and recommended diets was kept the same.
“In general, meat is worse than other types of food because every time something eats something else, you get a loss of energy,” Behrens told National Public Radio. “Eating any animal is going to have more of an impact compared to other food groups.”
However, people who live in low-income countries could increase the environmental stress if they follow the recommendations of their government. In those countries, people usually don’t eat a lot of meat, poultry or eggs. The government may recommend increasing these foods, which is something that could adversely affect the environment.
What do you think, would eating healthy and cutting out meat and eggs from our regular diet have a positive effect on a future, more healthy environment?