Thursday, June 4, 2015

How is Diet Related to Climate Change?

The nutritional footprint - integrated methodology using environmental and health indicators to indicate potential for absolute reduction of natural resource use in the field of food and nutrition (10 page pdf, Melanie Lukas, Holger Rohn, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedtke, Klaus Wiesen, Journal of Cleaner Production, Feb. 9, 2015)

Today we review the concept of a numerical index used to assess the impact of various diets and nutrients on health and the environment by examining how they affect greenhouse gas emissions, and water or land demand and use. A vegetarian diet has low impact, a fish diet medium impact and a meat diet high impact. The authors suggest how this index could be used to help consumers choose lower impact diets as a sort
Weight Watcher index tagged to foods at retail outlets.

 . diet footprint

Key Quotes:

“the Nutritional based on implementing the concept of a sustainable diet in decision-making processes, and supporting a resource-light society.. focus on the food and nutrition sector which accounts for 29% of the global emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), and for a high use of water and land, and so a high resource use”

“four macro indicators with a high relevance for the environmental effect of food production and consumption have been identified …‘Carbon Footprint, Material Footprint Land use and Water Footprint.. the Material Footprint which is based on the MIPS concept (Material Input Per Unit of Service), was considered as a complementary indicator”

“The vegetarian and vegan choice show an indicator below 1,6 and, therefore, with a low effect level or even a sustainable level; thus, these menus are suggested as …. The fish menu is at the level of a medium effect and partially recommendable once or twice a week. All menus with a medium or large portion of meat are classified as less preferable and are rated with a high effect”

“The tool could provide an GDA (Guidelines Daily Amount)..provide an understandable tool to support and guide consumers to a healthier and environmental friendly diet. Companies could influence consumers' decisions in the same direction if management and communication tools are adequate to support these decisions”

“influencing nutrition choice may include the idea of having some kind of individual target values, and of attempting not to exceed a level of 1.8 in one menu. Knowledge of individual targets may inspire choice and a person may have to go without a meal; this is similar to the concept of the well-known and quite successful concept ‘Weight Watchers’”

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