You Can Lower Greenhouse Emissions With a Simple Change in Diet

Want to lower your impact on the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted to bring you food? Yes, you can ride your bike (or walk, or take the bus) to the grocery store instead of driving, but there’s an even simpler solution: adopt a vegetarian diet.

Researchers in the UK have concluded that the production of meat and animal-based foods produce a ton of waste.

The production of animal-based foods is associated with higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than plant-based foods. The objective of this study was to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions between self-selected meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Subjects were participants in the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. The diets of 2,041 vegans, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 fish-eaters and 29,589 meat-eaters aged 20–79 were assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Comparable GHG emissions parameters were developed for the underlying food codes using a dataset of GHG emissions for 94 food commodities in the UK, with a weighting for the global warming potential of each component gas. The average GHG emissions associated with a standard 2,000 kcal diet were estimated for all subjects. ANOVA was used to estimate average dietary GHG emissions by diet group adjusted for sex and age. The age-and-sex-adjusted mean (95 % confidence interval) GHG emissions in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per day (kgCO2e/day) were 7.19 (7.16, 7.22) for high meat-eaters ( > = 100 g/d), 5.63 (5.61, 5.65) for medium meat-eaters (50-99 g/d), 4.67 (4.65, 4.70) for low meat-eaters ( <  50 g/d), 3.91 (3.88, 3.94) for fish-eaters, 3.81 (3.79, 3.83) for vegetarians and 2.89 (2.83, 2.94) for vegans. In conclusion, dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans. It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions.

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Overwhelming Proof You Can’t Eat Enough Fruit and Vegetables

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us – but did you know that at any age you can reduce your risk of death by 42%? According to some fresh research eating seven portions of fruit or veggies per day can provide massive health benefits, indeed with every serving increase you can reduce your risk of death by 17%!

Compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions, 29% for three to five portions, 36% for five to seven portions and 42% for seven or more. These figures are adjusted for sex, age, cigarette smoking, social class, Body Mass Index, education, physical activity and alcohol intake, and exclude deaths within a year of the food survey.

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a smaller but still significant 4% reduction.

Now to go to the local grocer!

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Read the research paper here.

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Eat Less Meat and Save More Wildlife

Just reducing the amount of meat one has in their diet can have a positive impact on our food system, the planet, and wildlife. Take Extinction Off Your Plate is a campaign to get people not to be vegetarian, just to get people to reduce their meat intake. Producing meat in the modern farming system requires a lot of energy; indeed, Stanford warns about the dangers of global meat production.

It’s easy to be vegetarian, but remember – even decreasing your meat consumption can have positive impacts on the world and your health!

Meat production is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation globally, and the crisis is rapidly growing worse. Production of beef, poultry, pork and other meats tripled between 1980 and 2010 and will likely double again by 2020. This ever-increasing meat consumption in a world of more than 7 billion people is already taking a staggering toll on wildlife, habitat, water resources, air quality and the climate. And Americans eat more meat per capita than almost anyone else. By reducing our meat consumption, we can take extinction off our plates and improve our own health along with the health of the planet.

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Decrease Blood Pressure By Simply Changing Your Diet

I love knowledge and it’s exciting that a meta-analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine has concluded that a vegetarian diet is perfect for decreasing blood pressure!Meta-analysis of research data is the assessment of a multiple research papers related to the same issue and sometimes the meta-analysis can disprove existing assumptions, in this case the meta-analysis confirms what many already thought!

Plus, researchers found that “the effect sizes are similar to those observed with commonly recommended lifestyle modifications, such as adoption of a low-sodium diet or a weight reduction of 5 kg, and are approximately half the magnitude of those observed with pharmaceutical therapy,” they wrote in the study. A weight reduction of 5 kilograms is equivalent to about 11 pounds.

Read more at Huffington Post.

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Mediterranean-Style Diet Contributes to Longer Life

For people of all ages, it’s been proven that a diet similar to what’s popular around the Mediterranean helps with fending off negative health issues. Now, new research points out that even people in they “mid-life” can benefit greatly by eating a more Mediterranean-stlye diet.

“In summary, we found that greater quality of diet at midlife was strongly associated with increased odds of good health and well-being among individuals surviving to older ages,” epidemiologist Cécilia Samieri of the French National Institute of Health and her co-authors concluded in Monday’s online Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Maintaining physical, cognitive, and mental health with aging may provide a more powerful incentive for dietary change than simply prolonging life or avoiding any single chronic disease.”

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