Just Read: Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK; A Low Carbon Diet is also High Carbohydrate Diet

2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 381
2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 381 (View on Flickr.com)

I created this chart based on the data in this paper published in the journal Climactic Change (see reference below), which was used in this report: Building a Climate-Smart Healthcare System for California | Bay Area Council Economic Institute, in this context:

Due to meat’s carbon-intensive production, simply moving from a diet “heavy” in meat to a diet “low” in meat can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by a third in a single step.Building a Climate-Smart Healthcare System for California | Bay Area Council Economic Institute

and

Transitioning to diets with more plant-based ingredients is an essential action to promote long-term environmental sustainabilityBuilding a Climate-Smart Healthcare System for California | Bay Area Council Economic Institute

However, we need to look at both sides of the equation – the carbon emissions from diet and the carbon emissions from health status changes.

The “low” in meat diet has other implications

I have found this consistency in other studies, as I posted about previously.

Assuming an ordered categorisation (high meat→medium meat→low meat→fish-eaters→vegetarians→vegans), there were significant trends towards lower total fat, saturated fat and protein consumption and higher carbohydrate, total sugar, fibre and fruit and vegetables consumption as animal-based food consumption decreased”Scarborough P, Appleby PN, Mizdrak A, Briggs ADM, Travis RC, Bradbury KE, et al. Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Clim Change [Internet]. Springer Netherlands; 2014 Jul 11 [cited 2018 Apr 11];125(2):179–92. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1

The increase in Greenhouse gases from a higher-meat diet is offset by other life activities

2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 379
2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 379 (View on Flickr.com)

and

2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 380
2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 380 (View on Flickr.com)

Climate Change is a Threat to Human Health

2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 376
2018.04.29 A Lower Carbon Diet is a Higher Carbohydrate Diet 376 (View on Flickr.com)

Is it Possible to be Low Carbon and Low Carbohydrate?

This is an important topic of discussion. I don’t know the answer.

  • I have images of the impact of being high carbon:

Photo Friday: Halfway to worldwide 2 degree celsius rise in Washington, DC USA

  • I have images of the impact of being high carbohydrate:

Just Read: Prevalence trends tell us what did not precipitate the US obesity epidemic

  • I have images of the interplay of both in the lives of the people we serve

What’s better for human health, the products in the foreground, or the products in the background?

2017.12.12 Sustainable Diet, Washington, DC USA 1359
What’s better for human health, the products in the foreground, or the products in the background? | 2017.12.12 Sustainable Diet, Washington, DC USA 1359 (View on Flickr.com)

I am going to continue reading, because I have a desire to know what’s best for health.

Citation

Scarborough P, Appleby PN, Mizdrak A, Briggs ADM, Travis RC, Bradbury KE, et al. Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Clim Change [Internet]. Springer Netherlands; 2014 Jul 11 [cited 2018 Apr 11];125(2):179–92. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1

Thank you to the authors for making the content @CreativeCommons licensed.

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