`U.S. Households Could Slash Emissions by Reducing Junk Food Consumption - Olive Oil Times

U.S. Households Could Slash Emissions by Reducing Junk Food Consumption

Dec 7, 2021 11:32 AM EST
Paolo DeAndreis

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Consumers in the United States can sig­nif­i­cantly reduce green­house gases emis­sions by alter­ing the way in which they make their food selec­tion choices, a new study shows.

While a veg­e­tar­ian or vegan diet would lower emis­sions even fur­ther, all con­sumers can play their part with­out dras­tic dietary changes, the American Chemical Society found in a study of more than 57,000 house­holds.

Small house­holds are pur­chas­ing more food items than larger house­holds, which means they’re prob­a­bly buy­ing or con­sum­ing more than they need.- Hua Cai, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor, Puedue University

According to the researchers, pre­vi­ous stud­ies on the cur­tail­ing of food-derived emis­sions from house­holds focused on known specifics, such as meat and dairy prod­ucts being higher in emis­sions than fruit, veg­eta­bles or grains.

Based on that knowl­edge, pre­vi­ous researchers have pro­vided sug­ges­tions for changes that indi­vid­u­als or house­holds can make to reduce the emis­sions gen­er­ated by food pro­duc­tion,” the researchers said. However, most of these rec­om­men­da­tions have been based on an aver­age American diet.’ In real­ity, not every­one eats the same types or quan­ti­ties of foods.”

See Also: Proposed Label Would Allow Consumers to Compare Sustainability of Food Items

Keeping this in mind, the researchers worked to iden­tify the exact sources of house­holds’ food car­bon emis­sions and to com­pare what would hap­pen if fam­i­lies switched to a sus­tain­able and healthy diet.

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According to their find­ings, cut­ting out foods with high caloric con­tent and low nutri­tional val­ues would result in a 29-per­cent reduc­tion of the total poten­tial emis­sions, while also poten­tially improv­ing health out­comes.”

Those num­bers do not include an eval­u­a­tion of the emis­sions caused by food pack­ag­ing and trans­porta­tion since those data were not included in the orig­i­nal set of U.S. house­holds’ food pur­chase records used for the study, which were gath­ered in 2010.

In their cur­rent research, the sci­en­tists found that 71 per­cent of the house­holds could improve their car­bon foot­print. They sug­gested that small house­holds avoid buy­ing too much food in bulk, which fre­quently results in more food being thrown away.

They also rec­om­mended that pro­duc­ers focus on offer­ing con­sumers cost-effec­tive pack­age sizes.”

Hua Cai, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of envi­ron­men­tal engi­neer­ing at Purdue University and the study’s lead researcher, told Food Dive that small house­holds are pur­chas­ing more food items than larger house­holds, which means they’re prob­a­bly buy­ing or con­sum­ing more than they need.”

People should buy less savory bak­ery prod­ucts and ready-made foods,” she added. Though those foods are respon­si­ble for rel­a­tively low car­bon emis­sions, the large amounts of these items that are pur­chased adds up to sig­nif­i­cant emis­sions.”





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