New “traffic-light system” quantifies health and environmental risk factors. Researchers have developed a “traffic-light system” to determine foods according to their health and environmental impact.
The new study results suggest that small, targeted dietary substitutions contain significant health and environmental benefits.
Dietary choices can have a significant impact on both the environment and human health.
In the United States, eating too many unhealthy foods and too few healthy foods are the leading causes of health burden. One study shows that in 2017, 11 million died due to dietary factors and 255 million due to disability-adjusted life years globally.
According to the new study, quantifying the different food’s health and environmental impact could help policymakers, food producers, and consumers make dietary choices that benefit both human health and the environment.
The recent research conducted by researchers from the The University of Michigan and Victor L Fulgoni from Nutrition Impact, LLC, outlines the environmental impact of foods and their health effects to help consumers improve their dietary health while protecting the environment.
The new research was published in Nature Food. The researchers used the What We Eat in America 2011–2016 database, involving 5,853 foods U.S. adults consumed.
The overall study found that plant-based foods are better than animal products when it comes to environmental and health-wise effects.
“We could also further target foods related to specific diseases for at-risk individuals, or on the contrary, disregard some factors based on individual needs such as sodium if high blood pressure is not an issue for a given person,” senior author Olivier Jolliet said.