Healthy Eating Saves The Environment, Study Shows: Will You Change Your Diet Now?

By Aaron Mamiit | Dec 05, 2017 06:01 AM EST

A new study reveals that healthy eating also saves the environment, providing another reason for people to start improving their diet.

Eating healthy to save the world does not necessarily mean targeting weight loss or radically changing food intake such as going gluten-free. The study reveals that simply following dietary recommendations will already do wonders in helping Mother Earth.

Eat Healthy, Save The World

According to a study published in PNAS, if the citizens in 28 high-income countries such as the United States, Japan, and Germany followed the dietary recommendations put forward by their respective governments, the world will breathe a little easier.

If the citizens follow the recommendations, greenhouse gases related to food production will fall by 13 percent to 25 percent. In addition, the amount of land that is needed to produce the food will decrease by as high as 17 percent.

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These figures might not look like much, but with the state of the world's environment, any reduction in greenhouse gas generation and land usage will be a big help.

According to scientists, food production, which includes growing crops, raising livestock, and transportation make up 20 percent to 30 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions. One-third of the ice-free land of the Earth, meanwhile, is being used to grow food.

"At least in high-income countries, a healthier diet leads to a healthier environment," said Paul Behrens, the lead author of the study and an environmental scientist at Netherlands' Leiden University. "It's win-win."

The study was made possible through what is known as the Exiobase, which is a massive database that holds information regarding greenhouse gas emissions, land demand, and fertilizer pollution caused by food production across the world. Behrens and his colleagues used Exiobase to calculate the impact of the food that people are currently eating, then to calculate the impact if people followed the recommended diet.

Going On A Healthy Diet

One or two people choosing to go on a healthy diet will not do much in saving the world, but it has to start somewhere.

Fortunately, there are different kinds of healthy dietary programs, in addition to the recommended intake by governments. The Mediterranean diet, for example, has allowed Italians to claim the title as the healthiest people in the world, with food focused on pasta, bread, lean meat, cheese, wine, and olive oil. In fact, the Mediterranean diet has also been deemed helpful and safe for children, especially those who are battling obesity.

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