What you add to your plate could impact environment in a big way. In a first of a kind study, scientists have discovered that unhealthy food is not just bad for your body but for environment as well, and widespread adaptation of healthier diets may reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and food production. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Foods that are tied with positive health outcomes happened to have lowest environmental impacts, whereas other foods, such as red meat, were found to be a little harmful according to a new research from the University of Minnesota and Oxford University.
The study suggested that eating healthier also meant eating in a more sustainable manner. For the study, researchers examined how consuming 15 different food groups is, on average, associated with five different health outcomes and five aspects of environmental degradation.
The findings revealed that almost all foods associated with positive health outcomes like whole grain cereals, fruits, legumes, nuts and vegetables had lowest environmental impacts. On the other hand, foods like processed red meat such as pork, beef and mutton are associated with largest environmental impacts. Interestingly, fish was associated with moderate environmental impact, and while sugary drinks may wreak havoc on your health, they had a low environment impact. Switching to healthier diets may be sustainable move for the environment, the researchers noted.
Nuts, minimally processed whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, and fish are associated with significantly reduced mortality and/or reduced risk for one or more diseases, the study revealed.
Researchers believe that these findings could help consumers, policy makers, and food companies to better understand the multiple health and environmental implications of one's daily food choices.
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