An increase in Western diets could lead to an 32 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector by 2050 if left unchecked, a new paper published in Nature has said.
Increasing incomes and urbanisation is leading to diets high in refined sugars, refined fats, oils and meats. As well as causing increases in type II diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease, the environmental consequences are major, increasing GHG emissions and land clearing.
Using life cycle analysis, researchers found Mediterranean, pescetarian and vegetarian diets could lead to GHG reductions of 30 per cent, 45 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively, and that there would be no increase in global greenhouse gas emissions if our diets transitioned to the average of these three diets.
“Our analyses demonstrate that there are plausible solutions to the diet–environment–health trilemma, diets already chosen by many people that, if widely adopted, would offer global environmental and public health benefits.”