From: Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara
Published March 16, 2017 06:59 AM

Eating healthier food could reduce greenhouse gas emissions

You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and while good dietary choices boost your own health, they also could improve the health care system and even benefit the planet. Healthier people mean not only less disease but also reduced greenhouse gas emissions from health care. As it turns out, some relatively small diet tweaks could add up to significant inroads in addressing climate change.

That’s the finding of a new study led by UC Santa Barbara researchers, who analyzed the potential effects of healthier model diets for the United States. The results appear in the journal Climatic Change.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone has done this,” said study director David Cleveland, a research professor in UCSB’s environmental studies program and geography department. “People have looked at what effect diets have both on climate and on health, but they’ve never examined the potential to mitigate climate change through the food system and the health care system together.”

The food system contributes about 30 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with the largest proportion coming from animal-based food. In addition, the poor quality of the standard U.S. diet — including high levels of red and processed meat and low levels of fruits and vegetables — is a major factor in a number of preventable diseases. The U.S. spends $3 trillion on health care every year —18 percent of the gross domestic product — much of it allocated to diseases associated with poor diets.

Continue reading at UC Santa Barbara.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2017©. Copyright Environmental News Network