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Food for Thought

Climate impact labels could help promote sustainable food choices: New study

Labels placed on fast food items highlighting their high climate impact may sway consumers to make more sustainable food choices, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (Wolfson et al., 2022).  “Food accounts for around one-third of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions, with animal-based foods such as red meat…

Healthy food and health: The role of pollinators and urban gardening

In a recent study by Smith et al. (2022) published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers “calculated that 3%–5% of fruit, vegetable, and nut production is lost due to inadequate pollination, leading to an estimated 427,000 (95% uncertainty interval: 86,000, 691,000) excess deaths annually from lost healthy food consumption and associated diseases. Modeled impacts…

Healthy plant-based diets are better for health and the environment than unhealthy plant-based diets: New research

In a new study published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, researchers characterized the health and environmental impacts associated with high versus low scores on various plant-rich dietary indices in a U.S. cohort study. These researchers found that participants in the highest alternative healthy eating index-2010 (AHEI) and healthy plant-based diet index (PDI) score quintiles…

Strategically located algae farms could increase global food production by 56% using just one-tenth of cropland: New research

According to research published in the journal Oceanography, there’s an opportunity to feed the world by farming fast-growing, low-resource, photosynthesizing algae on marginal coastal lands globally. Nutrient-rich algae, farmed along coastlines in pounds of seawater pumped up from the ocean, could produce enough food to feed 10 billion people in the next 25 years –…

Plant-based animal product alternatives are healthier and more environmentally sustainable than animal products: Review

A new paper published in the journal Future Foods concludes that plant-based meat and dairy alternatives offer a healthier and more environmentally sustainable solution when compared with the animal products they are designed to replace (University of Bath, 2022). The review analyzed the results of 43 studies. In completing the review, the author evaluated the…

Do carbon footprint labels promote climatarian diets? Evidence from a large-scale field experiment

In a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Economics & Management, researchers from the United Kingdom (UK) assessed the causal effect of carbon footprint labelling on individual meal choices in a university cafeteria setting using a large-scale field experiment. The study allowed the scientists explicitly explore whether carbon footprint labels can induce more…

Eat more fish: new research identifies several marine species that are more nutritious and better for the planet than beef, pork, or chicken

Replacing meat with certain types of sustainably sourced seafood could help people to reduce their carbon footprints without compromising on nutrition, finds an analysis of dozens of marine species that are consumed worldwide. The study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment  (Bianchi et al., 2022), “suggests that farmed bivalves — shellfish such as mussels,…

Ultra-processed foods should be central to global food systems dialogue and action on biodiversity

A recent commentary article published BMJ Global Health (2022) points out that, “The global industrial food system and consequent rapid rise of ultra-processed foods is severely impairing biodiversity. Yet although the impacts of existing land use and food production practices on biodiversity have received much attention, the role of ultra-processed foods has been largely ignored.…

Healthier foods are better for the planet: new study

An analysis of 57,000 foods published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) “reveals which [foods] have the best and worst environmental impacts. A team of researchers used an algorithm to estimate how much of each ingredient was in thousands of products sold in major UK supermarket chains. The scientists then gave food…

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