Nutrition

9 nutritional tips to reduce your carbon footprint

Many people feel an urgent need to reduce their impact on the earth due to the catastrophic effects of climate change and resource extraction. One of the strategies is to reduce your carbon footprint. It is a measure of your total greenhouse gas emissions, not only from driving vehicles or using electricity, but also due to your lifestyle choices, such as the clothes you wear and the food you eat. eat.

While there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s a good idea to start by changing your diet. In fact, some research shows that adopting more sustainable eating patterns in the Western diet could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and water consumption by 50% (1Trusted Source).

Here are 9 easy ways to minimize your carbon footprint through food and lifestyle choices.

1. Stop wasting food

Food waste is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This is because food that is thrown away breaks down in landfills and emits methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas. Over a 100-year period, methane is estimated to have a 34 times greater impact than carbon dioxide on global warming. It is currently estimated that each person on the planet wastes on average between 194 and 389 kg of food per year.

Reducing food waste is one of the easiest ways to lower your carbon footprint. Planning meals in advance, saving leftovers, and buying only what you need are all ways to save food.

2. Ditch the plastic

Using less plastic is an important part of transitioning to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Plastic packaging, plastic bags and plastic storage containers are commonly used by consumers and the food industry to package, ship, store and transport food. Yet single-use plastic is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some tips for using less plastic:

– Forgo plastic bags and wraps when buying fresh produce.
– Bring your own bags to the store.
– Drink from reusable water bottles and do not buy bottled water.
– Store food in glass containers.
– Buy less takeout, as it is often wrapped in styrofoam or plastic.

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3. Eat less meat

Research shows that reducing your meat consumption is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint.
In a study of 16,800 Americans, the diets that released the most greenhouse gases were those that contained the most beef, veal, pork and other ruminants. At the same time, the diets that emit the least greenhouse gases were also those that emit the least in meat.

Indeed, emissions from animal production, particularly beef and dairy cattle, account for 14.5% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally. You can try limiting your meat dishes to one meal a day, going meatless one day a week, or experimenting with vegetarian or vegan lifestyles.

4. Try plant proteins

Eating more plant protein can significantly reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. In one study, people with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions had the highest intake of plant protein. Including legumes, nuts and seeds, and the lowest consumption of animal protein. However, it is not necessary to completely eliminate animal protein from your diet.

People who ate average amounts of meat per day, 50 to 100 grams, had a significantly lower carbon footprint than those who ate more than 100 grams per day.

For reference, a serving of meat is about 85 grams. If you regularly eat more than that each day, try swapping plant-based proteins, such as beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds.

5. Reduce your consumption of dairy products

Reducing dairy products, including milk and cheese, is another way to reduce your carbon footprint. Indeed, dairy products are the second largest contributor to individual greenhouse gas emissions, behind meat.

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Dairy production is a major driver of climate change. Dairy cattle and their manure emit greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide and ammonia. In fact, because making cheese requires a lot of milk, it’s associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions than animal products like pork, eggs, and chicken.
To start, try eating less cheese and replacing milk with plant-based alternatives like almond or soy milk.

6. Eat more fiber-rich foods

Eating more fiber-rich foods not only improves your health, but can also reduce your carbon footprint. The least polluting diets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions were high in plant foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat and sodium.

These foods can help you stay full, by naturally limiting your intake of high-carbon foods. Plus, adding fiber to your diet can improve your digestive health, help balance bacteria in your gut, promote weight loss, and protect you against conditions like heart disease, colorectal cancer, and diabetes.

7. Grow your own produce

Growing your own produce in a community garden or in your backyard is associated with many benefits, including reduced stress, better diet quality, and improved emotional well-being. Cultivating land, regardless of size, can also reduce your carbon footprint.

Indeed, the cultivation of fruits and vegetables reduces the use of plastic packaging and the dependence on products transported over long distances. Practicing organic farming, recycling rainwater and composting can also reduce your impact on the environment.

8. Don’t eat excess calories

Eating more calories than your body needs can promote weight gain and related diseases. In addition, it is linked to higher greenhouse gas emissions. People with higher greenhouse gas emissions consume more calories from food and beverages than those on a low greenhouse gas emission diet.

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Similarly, people with the highest greenhouse gas emissions consumed 2.5 times more calories than those with the lowest emissions. Keep in mind that this only applies to people who overeat, not those who consume enough calories to maintain a healthy body weight.

To reduce your calorie intake, for example, you can forgo nutrient-poor, high-calorie foods like candy, soda, fast food and pastries.

9. Buy local food

Supporting local farmers is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. By buying locally, you reduce your dependence on food transported over long distances and you can increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, which helps offset your carbon emissions.

Eating seasonal foods and supporting organic producers are other ways to reduce your footprint. This is because food produced out of season is usually imported or requires more energy to grow due to the need for heated greenhouses. Additionally, switching to local and sustainable animal products like eggs, poultry can reduce your carbon footprint. Likewise, you may appreciate more of the foods unique to your region.

Adapting your diet is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Which can also improve your health. By making simple changes like eating fewer animal products, using less plastic, eating more fresh produce, and reducing your food waste, you can significantly reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions.

Remember that seemingly small efforts can make a big difference. You can even take your neighbors and friends with you.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6202438/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6651478/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5094759/

http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3437e.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4372775/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29853680/

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