Small Dietary Changes May Benefit Your Health and the Environment: Study | 2021-09-15


Ann Arbor, MI – Small changes in your diet can lead to longer, healthier lives – and also help the planet, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

By examining more than 5,800 types of foods commonly eaten in the United States, comparing their nutritional and environmental impacts and categorizing them, the researchers found that “small, targeted food substitutions can achieve reductions. convincing nutritional and environmental impact ”.

For example, choosing to eat a hot dog can cost you 36 minutes of healthy living, while consuming a serving of nuts can add 26 minutes of healthy living. Changing 10% of your daily diet from highly processed meats to fruits, vegetables and other foods “could reduce your dietary carbon footprint by a third” and allow you to gain 48 healthy minutes per day.

Researchers recommend reducing the consumption of foods “having the most negative impacts on health and the environment”, such as highly processed beef and shrimp, while increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and low environmental impact seafood – “the most nutritionally beneficial foods.

Principal investigator Olivier Jolliet, professor of environmental health sciences at the UM School of Public Health, said in a press release: “The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear. Our results demonstrate that small, targeted substitutions offer a feasible and powerful strategy to achieve significant health and environmental benefits without requiring drastic dietary changes.

The study was published online Aug. 18 in the journal Natural food.


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