Indian Dietary Guidelines Have Smallest Carbon Footprint – 77% Less Than US: Study | The Weather Channel – Articles de The Weather Channel

Plant-based diet has been shown to have the least carbon footprint

(Rajesh Mehta / BCCL, Delhi)

Most countries around the world, including India, publish a set of dietary guidelines from time to time to help citizens adopt healthy lifestyles. Over the past decades, these dietary guidelines have evolved in line with new scientific evidence with the goal of making people healthier without compromising nature’s ability to support future generations.

But what if dietary guidelines that aim to improve human health end up disrupting nature by encouraging more emissions? A new study by American researchers shows that dietary guidelines in many countries do just that, by increasing the carbon footprint – the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from a particular activity – associated with daily food consumption. .

“Previous simulations have shown that if the public ate ​​according to their government’s recommendations, their food would be both healthier and have a lower carbon footprint. However, for the United States, the opposite has been shown; Greenhouse gas emissions were simulated to increase if people followed dietary guidelines. This anomaly prompted us to investigate how dietary recommendations vary from country to country and the resulting implications for greenhouse gas emissions, ”says study co-author Diego Rose, from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, USA.

Indian guidelines ideal for people and planet

India, which launched its guidelines in 1998, revised them in 2011 to address the “double burden” of undernourishment and over-nutrition. Written by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, the guidelines recommend four levels of food consumption: sufficient dating of grains and legumes / beans; vegetables and fruits generously; foods and oils of animal origin moderately; and highly processed foods that are high in sugar and fat sparingly.

According to the current study, the carbon footprint associated with India’s guidelines was equivalent to 0.86 kg of CO2 per day – much lower than that of countries like the United States (3.83 kg), – Low (2.86 kg), Oman (2.53 kg), Uruguay (2.42 kg) and Germany (2.25 kg). In fact, the carbon footprint of the Indian Recommended Diet was well below EAT-Lancet’s global guidelines (1.36 kg), designed by leading nutritionists and experts around the world with the goal of balancing health. and environmental sustainability.

In the study, the researchers analyzed the dietary guidelines of seven countries in North America, Europe and Asia for their carbon footprint. Individual foods have a huge impact on global warming, as increased consumption of meat and dairy products leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions, while a plant-based diet is associated with lower emissions. .

Healthy food.  (IANS)

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India’s guidelines recommend very low protein and very rich dairy products and vegetables. Additionally, India’s protein recommendation is for pulses only, making it the most climate-friendly guidelines among the countries reviewed.

U.S. guidelines for maximum emissions

The team of researchers at Tulane University found that the American dietary recommendations are associated with an equivalent of 3.83 kg of CO2 per day, more than 4 times that of India. The US vegetarian dietary recommendations, on the other hand, were much lower (1.8 kg) than the country’s main recommendations. However, even the vegetarian diet recommendations in the United States were twice as high as those in India, mainly due to the higher amount of dairy consumption recommendations.

“Despite our common human biology, ‘food-based dietary guidelines’ vary enormously from country to country, as do the carbon footprints associated with these guidelines. Understanding the carbon footprints of different recommendations can help future decision-making to integrate environmental sustainability into dietary advice, ”the study concludes.

However, the authors recognize the limits of the study because it considers only one impact parameter: greenhouse gas emissions. The authors recommend taking due account of other environmental parameters such as land and water use to make the dietary recommendation even more sustainable.

“These results provide information for the future development of dietary guidelines and highlight the importance of including sustainability considerations, such as reducing recommendations for protein foods and dairy products and / or including more plant-based substitutions. for animal products, ”Brittany Kovacs, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

The study was published in the Open Access Nutrition Journal last week and can be viewed here.