We've all heard that the so-called Western Diet, that one that is heavy on meat and saturated fats, is a contributing factor for increased rates of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. And we all know that our public health agencies use national dietary recommendations and food pyramids etc. to nudge us toward healthier eating and, hopefully, lower health care costs.
It turns out, however, that following those dietary recommendations may improve the health of more than just humans -- it may improve the health of the world's ecology, too.
A new article published by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Behrens et. al. “Evaluating the environmental impacts of dietary recommendations.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017, studied the dietary recommendations of 37 countries and compared those recommendations with the actual diets of people in those countries.
The researchers found that if residents in the U.S. and Western Europe actually followed their own national dietary recommendations, then "greenhouse gas emissions would decline globally by between 13 and 24.8%, land-use would go down by 17.6%, and eutrophication would decline by up to 21.3%."
Combine this kind of "sustainable eating" with sustainable farming practices and we could make a big difference just by eating three square meals day of what's already good for us.