It turns out that keeping a healthy diet not only does wonders for your body but it also reduces your environmental impact on the world.
Published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study analyzed the impact of diet on the environment. Led by Paul Behrens from Leiden University, the team of Dutch researchers used nationally recommended diets (NRD) from 37 countries which equates to two-thirds of the global population.
They considered three environmental factors for the study: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, eutrophication, and changing land use. Eutrophication has to do with the high growth of algae stemmed from a high number of nutrients in water bodies.
These three factors were shown to be reduced in high-income countries (28 out of the 37 countries studied) if people kept with the NRDs. The reductions ranged between 13-24.8 percent, and 9.8-21.3 percent to 5.7-17.6 percent for GHG, eutrophication and land use, respectively.
The nine remaining countries were split into two categories: lower-middle and upper middle. People who used NRD’s in upper middle-income countries didn’t rack up the same reduction value found in high-income countries. Here, the environmental benefits were calculated as 0.8-12.2 percent, 7.7-19.4 percent, and 7.2-18.6 percent, respectively.
Poorer middle-income countries fared worse than their two counterparts, with an estimated valued at 12.4-17 percent, 24.5-31.9 percent, and 8.8–14.8 percent, respectively. Poorer countries like India and Indonesia have a greater environmental impact due to their nationally recommended diets that include more calories.
„It’s superb that we have this information,” Behrens said. „You can trace the impact of any consumption across the world.”
Countries such as Britain, Switzerland, and China, acknowledged that NRDs can improve life on Earth, however, the problem still lies in the individual, according to Behrens.
Researchers hope this study will become the building block of an optimized dietary system.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons