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Less meat and more tap water benefits health and the environment

Publication date: 06 March 2018
Modificationdate: 04 June 2018

In the Netherlands, diets with a high environmental impact contain more meat and energy. People with diets causing a relatively high environmental impact can help the environment by reducing their consumption of red and/or processed meat during dinner. This is what RIVM research published in BMC Public Health has shown. The research was based on data from the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey 2007-2010 for adults.

A 75% reduction results in a 23% reduction in total dietary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for this group. Replacing all soft drinks and alcoholic drinks with tap water is also successful in reducing dietary greenhouse gas emissions, with a 9% reduction for men and a 6% reduction for women.

Less saturated fat and sugar

In addition to a significant reduction in the environmental impact of food consumption, the changes also resulted in decreased intakes of saturated fat and sugar, which is beneficial for health. Attention should be paid to the lower energy and iron intakes as a result of these scenarios. For people with overweight a lower energy intake can be beneficial, but if the scenarios studied lead to energy or iron intakes below individual requirements, this should be compensated by an increased consumption of healthy, low greenhouse gas emission foods in order to meet nutrient requirements.

Sustainable food 

Food production and consumption are responsible for 20-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In order to bring greenhouse gas emissions within sustainable boundaries, reducing the environmental impact of our food consumption is important.

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