Organic diet linked to lower greenhouse gas emissions

Photo credit: EmerandSam

A recent study in the Journal Climatic Change examines the environmental performance of diets based on greenhouse gas emissions. The thought is that shifts in dietary patterns could shift food production practices thus ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The study assessed the food consumption of over 34,000 French adults via questionnaire to assess the nutritional, environmental and economic indicators associated with different diets. They found that diets with high greenhouse gas emissions were typically high calorie diets that contained more animal based foods. Low greenhouse gas emission diets were lower in animal based foods, higher in plant based foods with high nutritional quality and included a higher proportion of organic food.  The participants with the lowest emissions also showed the highest consumption of organic food. This result is in part due to the fact that plant-based foods, which typically make up a greater proportion of an organic diet, are also low greenhouse gas emitting foods. The study also found that in general low greenhouse gas emitting diets appear “to be healthier in terms of nutrition, presents environmental benefits, and are less expensive.”