Switch From Beef to Chicken Could Help the Planet
By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay
via WebMD - June 10, 2019
MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- One simple change in your diet -- replacing beef with poultry -- could go a long way toward curbing climate change, research shows.
Beef is the largest dietary contributor to greenhouse gases for average people, and replacing it can halve a diner's food-based carbon footprint and improve health, according to findings presented Monday at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting, in Baltimore.
"Basically, the top 10 highest carbon foods are all either a cut of beef or ground beef, said lead researcher Diego Rose, director of nutrition at Tulane University in New Orleans. "We can substitute that for things people would still find satisfying, in a culinary sense, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
For this study, Rose and his colleagues analyzed diet information from more than 16,000 participants in the nationwide health and nutrition survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The researchers compared what people ate to the greenhouse gases emitted during production of those foods, to calculate a carbon footprint for individual diets.
The 10 foods with the greatest impact on the environment were all cuts of beef. About 20% of respondents reported eating one of these high-carbon foods on the day they were surveyed, researchers said.
The foods with the heaviest carbon footprint leave quite an impression on the planet. The top 20% of foods had almost five times more impact on the environment than the bottom 20%, Rose said.
Researchers then calculated a new carbon footprint for each diet by replacing beef with poultry -- broiled chicken for broiled steak, ground turkey for ground beef.
"When we subbed them out, we found the drop from emissions from the new diets were about half what they were before -- 48% less," Rose said.
Simulations showed people's dietary carbon footprint became smaller even though they would be eating just as much...