Healthy diet means a healthy planet, study shows

Beans, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables are best for the climate and for avoiding disease, research shows. (Photo by Marilyn Barbone/Alamy via The Guardian)
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(The Guardian) Eating healthy food is almost always also best for the environment, according to the most sophisticated analysis to date.

The researchers said poor diets threaten society by seriously harming people and the planet, but the latest research can inform better choices.

The analysis assessed the health and environmental impacts of 15 foods common in western diets and found fruit, vegetables, beans and wholegrains were best for both avoiding disease and protecting the climate and water resources. Conversely, eating more red and processed meat causes the most ill health and pollution.

There were a small number of foods that bucked the trend. Fish is generally a healthy choice but has a bigger environmental footprint on average than plant-based diets. High-sugar foods, such as biscuits and fizzy drinks, have a low impact on the planet but are bad for health.

The effect of bad diets on health in rich nations is well known, as is the need to slash western meat consumption in order to tackle the climate breakdown and other environmental crises. But this is the first study to consider both together in detail.

Read more at: The Guardian

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