evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios

In Over-nutrition, Under-nutrition on November 27, 2016 at 3:33 am

Peters CJ, Picardy J, Darrouzet-Nardi AF, Wilkins JL, Griffin TS, et al. 2016. Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios. Elem Sci Anth 4: 000116

(download here)

Abstract

Strategies for environmental sustainability and global food security must account for dietary change. Using a biophysical simulation model we calculated human carrying capacity under ten diet scenarios. The scenarios included two reference diets based on actual consumption and eight “Healthy Diet” scenarios that complied with nutritional recommendations but varied in the level of meat content. We considered the U.S. agricultural land base and accounted for losses, processing conversions, livestock feed needs, suitability of land for crops or grazing, and land productivity.

Annual per capita land requirements ranged from 0.13 to 1.08 ha person-1 year-1 across the ten diet scenarios. Carrying capacity varied from 402 to 807 million persons; 1.3 to 2.6 times the 2010 U.S. population.

Carrying capacity was generally higher for scenarios with less meat and highest for the lacto-vegetarian diet. However, the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios.

Sensitivity analysis showed that carrying capacity estimates were highly influenced by starting assumptions about the proportion of cropland available for cultivated cropping.

Population level dietary change can contribute substantially to meeting future food needs, though ongoing agricultural research and sustainable management practices are still needed to assure sufficient production levels.

 

Food choices, health and environment: Effects of cutting Europe’s meat and dairy intake

In Over-nutrition on September 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

by Henk Westhoek, Jan Peter Lesschen,Trudy Rood, Susanne Wagner, Alessandra De Marco, Donal Murphy-Bokern, Adrian Leip, Hans van Grinsven, Mark A. Sutton, Oene Oenema.

From: Global Environmental Change. Volume 26, May 2014, Pages 196–205

Highlights

• We model the effect of halving meat and dairy consumption on health and environment.

• Halving meat and dairy lowers saturated fat intake to the maximum recommended level.

• Lower livestock production lead to 40% lower nitrogen emissions.

• Lower livestock production lead to 25–40% lower greenhouse gas emissions.

• Lower meat and dairy consumption would make the EU an exporter of cereals.

 

Abstract

Western diets are characterised by a high intake of meat, dairy products and eggs, causing an intake of saturated fat and red meat in quantities that exceed dietary recommendations. The associated livestock production requires large areas of land and lead to high nitrogen and greenhouse gas emission levels.

Although several studies have examined the potential impact of dietary changes on greenhouse gas emissions and land use, those on health, the agricultural system and other environmental aspects (such as nitrogen emissions) have only been studied to a limited extent.

By using biophysical models and methods, we examined the large-scale consequences in the European Union of replacing 25–50% of animal-derived foods with plant-based foods on a dietary energy basis, assuming corresponding changes in production. We tested the effects of these alternative diets and found that halving the consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs in the European Union would achieve a 40% reduction in nitrogen emissions, 25–40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 23% per capita less use of cropland for food production. In addition, the dietary changes would also lower health risks. The European Union would become a net exporter of cereals, while the use of soymeal would be reduced by 75%. The nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of the food system would increase from the current 18% to between 41% and 47%, depending on choices made regarding land use. As agriculture is the major source of nitrogen pollution, this is expected to result in a significant improvement in both air and water quality in the EU. The resulting 40% reduction in the intake of saturated fat would lead to a reduction in cardiovascular mortality.

These diet-led changes in food production patterns would have a large economic impact on livestock farmers and associated supply-chain actors, such as the feed industry and meat-processing sector.

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The Ethics of What We Eat

In Over-nutrition on August 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

from the web site Keen Talks, Prof Peter Singer, expert in Bio-ethics, talks academically about the ethics behind what we choose to eat.

“The Ethics of What We Eat explores the impact our food choices have on humans, animals, and the environment. Recognizing that not all of us will become vegetarians, Singer offers ways to make healthful, humane food choices. As they point out: You can be ethical without being fanatical.

“Huge retailers wield enormous power over prices and compel those far up the chain of food production and distribution to make unhelpful decisions. Peter also examines the ethical pros and cons of eating meat in any form.

“Urban dwellers far removed from the source of the foods they eat will find Singer’s descriptions of food production more disturbing and violent than the quiet, attractive, plastic-wrapped displays in the local supermarket’s pristine meat case.”

Preventing sight-related aging problems with Diet (evidence-based)

In Over-nutrition on May 18, 2012 at 8:26 am

Based on recent papers, Dr Greger concludes that “a healthy diet may not only prevent the complications of diabetes, but also reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, another common cause of blindness.”

Follow other posts from Dr Greger on his blog.

The Politics of Food / conversation with history – Michael Pollan (free Video – 58m)

In Over-nutrition on May 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

From Keen Talks you can watch this video.

Michael Pollan discusses the agricultural industrial complex that dominates consumer choices about what to eat. He explores the origins, evolution and consequences of this system for the nations health and environment. He highlights the role of science, journalism, and politics in the development of a diet that emphasizes nutrition over food.

“Pollan also sketches a reform agenda and speculates on how a movement might change Americas eating habits. He also talks about science writing, the rewards of gardening, and how students might prepare for the future.”

Adding kiwi and grape seeds to burgers to reduce the meat bad effect

In Over-nutrition on April 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Dr Greger: “Dietary interventions, including increasing fruit and vegetable intake and decreasing meat intake, may not only help slow the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but may actually improve lung function.”

Poultry and Penis Cancer

In Over-nutrition on April 30, 2012 at 9:35 am

Dr Greger: “The largest study to date on poultry workers found a significantly increased risk of dying from penile cancer, thought to be due to exposure to oncogenic (cancer-causing) chicken viruses, which raise consumer concerns as well.”

Michael Pollan (the Omnivore Dilemma): interview

In Over-nutrition on April 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Watch the interview to the author of the book “the Omnivore Dilemma“: Michael Pollan.

“The UC Davis Mondavi Center presents bestselling author and UC Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan. He explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the twenty-first century. Michael Pollan is the author, most recently, of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.”

What do you think about this?

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