A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that the majority of eating habits include compromises regarding sustainability. Although the plant-based diet proved to be the greatest for the environment, the low-fat diet seemed to have the highest quality.
Major policy agendas ask for rapid funding in studies that examine how dietary habits affect several sustainability domains. Consequently, this research was done to compare the daily per capita greenhouse gas emissions, diet costs, and diet quality of plant-based, low-fat, low-grain, and time-restricted diet patterns.
Data on food prices and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) from several databases were combined with dietary information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013-2016, n = 4025). The Healthy Eating Index-2015 was utilized to measure the effectiveness of the diet.
The key findings of this study were:
1. Although the diet quality was comparable to most other diet patterns (P > 0.005), the plant-based diet pattern had the lowest GHGEs (3.5 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq); 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.3, 3.8 kg CO2eq) and one of the lowest diet costs.
2. The low-grain diet plan had all intermediate sustainability effects. With intermediate diet quality and moderate to high GHGEs, the limited carbohydrate diet pattern had the greatest diet cost.
3. The greatest diet quality, intermediate GHGEs, and lowest diet cost were all found in the low-fat diet pattern.
Recent methodological developments in diet sustainability research allowed this study to combine data on environmental effects, cost, and food quality from many databases. In this nationally representative study, the majority of food patterns were linked to sustainability trade-offs. These findings are