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Is a diet low in greenhouse gas emissions a nutritious diet? – Analyses of self-selected diets in the LifeGene study

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ABSTRACT

Background: Climate change is an urgent global issue and the food sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE). Here we study if a diet low in GHGE could be a nutritious diet compared to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR).

Methods: The environmental impact of foods from Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data was linked to a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) filled out by 5,364 participants in the Swedish LifeGene study. Thereafter, we calculated the daily emission of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) as well as the intake of selected nutrients associated with vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products. The CO2e was divided into quartiles were quartile 1 corresponds to a diet generating the lowest CO2e, and quartile 4 corresponds to a diet with the highest CO2e.

Results: The overall diet-related emission was 4.7 kg CO2e/day and person, corresponding to 1.7 ton CO2e/year. In general, there were only small differences in nutrient intake between groups of varying levels of CO2e, regardless if the intake was analyzed as absolute intake, energy percent or as nutrient density. Moreover, adherence to NNR was high for the group with the lowest CO2e, except for saturated fat where the intake was higher than recommended for all CO2e groups. On the other hand, only the group with the lowest CO2e fulfilled recommended intake of fiber. However, none of the CO2e groups reached the recommended intake of folate and vitamin D.

Conclusions: Here we show that a self-selected diet low in CO2e provides comparable intake of nutrients as a diet high in in CO2e.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13690-017-0185-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.


Diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by age and gender in the LifeGene study, 2009–10, Sweden (n = 5,364). The distribution of crude median and IQR of daily diet-related greenhouse gas emissions expressed as kg CO2e by age and gender
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Fig1: Diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by age and gender in the LifeGene study, 2009–10, Sweden (n = 5,364). The distribution of crude median and IQR of daily diet-related greenhouse gas emissions expressed as kg CO2e by age and gender

Mentions: The distribution of crude daily CO2e by age and gender is shown in Fig. 1. The median CO2e was lower in women than in men, and increased with age for both women and men. The lower CO2e in women compared to men is an effect of lower general intake of energy in women as well as gender differences in what type of food they eat (i.e. higher meat intake in men). Therefore, to take into account differences in energy intake, we present the median and interquartile range (IQR) of absolute nutrient intake according to quartiles of energy adjusted CO2e in Table 3. The intake of nutrients mainly coming from plant-based foods, such as β-carotene, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fat, and fiber, were higher in the group with the lowest CO2e compared to the group with highest CO2e, except for the intake of monounsaturated fat, vitamin C and folate that was higher in the highest CO2e group. Nutrients serving as markers for intake of meat and dairy, such as vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin D, retinol equivalents, calcium, fat, saturated total fat, and protein, were generally higher in the highest CO2e group, compared to the lowest CO2e group, whereas there were only small differences regarding the iron intake between CO2e groups. The overall result did not change when CO2e was divided into three groups, i.e. tertiles as well as five groups i.e. quintiles, see Additional file 2: Table S2 and Additional file 3: Table S3.Fig. 1


Is a diet low in greenhouse gas emissions a nutritious diet? – Analyses of self-selected diets in the LifeGene study
Diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by age and gender in the LifeGene study, 2009–10, Sweden (n = 5,364). The distribution of crude median and IQR of daily diet-related greenhouse gas emissions expressed as kg CO2e by age and gender
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5385588&req=5

Fig1: Diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by age and gender in the LifeGene study, 2009–10, Sweden (n = 5,364). The distribution of crude median and IQR of daily diet-related greenhouse gas emissions expressed as kg CO2e by age and gender
Mentions: The distribution of crude daily CO2e by age and gender is shown in Fig. 1. The median CO2e was lower in women than in men, and increased with age for both women and men. The lower CO2e in women compared to men is an effect of lower general intake of energy in women as well as gender differences in what type of food they eat (i.e. higher meat intake in men). Therefore, to take into account differences in energy intake, we present the median and interquartile range (IQR) of absolute nutrient intake according to quartiles of energy adjusted CO2e in Table 3. The intake of nutrients mainly coming from plant-based foods, such as β-carotene, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fat, and fiber, were higher in the group with the lowest CO2e compared to the group with highest CO2e, except for the intake of monounsaturated fat, vitamin C and folate that was higher in the highest CO2e group. Nutrients serving as markers for intake of meat and dairy, such as vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin D, retinol equivalents, calcium, fat, saturated total fat, and protein, were generally higher in the highest CO2e group, compared to the lowest CO2e group, whereas there were only small differences regarding the iron intake between CO2e groups. The overall result did not change when CO2e was divided into three groups, i.e. tertiles as well as five groups i.e. quintiles, see Additional file 2: Table S2 and Additional file 3: Table S3.Fig. 1

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Climate change is an urgent global issue and the food sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE). Here we study if a diet low in GHGE could be a nutritious diet compared to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR).

Methods: The environmental impact of foods from Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data was linked to a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) filled out by 5,364 participants in the Swedish LifeGene study. Thereafter, we calculated the daily emission of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) as well as the intake of selected nutrients associated with vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products. The CO2e was divided into quartiles were quartile 1 corresponds to a diet generating the lowest CO2e, and quartile 4 corresponds to a diet with the highest CO2e.

Results: The overall diet-related emission was 4.7 kg CO2e/day and person, corresponding to 1.7 ton CO2e/year. In general, there were only small differences in nutrient intake between groups of varying levels of CO2e, regardless if the intake was analyzed as absolute intake, energy percent or as nutrient density. Moreover, adherence to NNR was high for the group with the lowest CO2e, except for saturated fat where the intake was higher than recommended for all CO2e groups. On the other hand, only the group with the lowest CO2e fulfilled recommended intake of fiber. However, none of the CO2e groups reached the recommended intake of folate and vitamin D.

Conclusions: Here we show that a self-selected diet low in CO2e provides comparable intake of nutrients as a diet high in in CO2e.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13690-017-0185-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.