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Public Health Nutr. 2015 Sep;18(13):2425-32. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014002833. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

Comparing the water, energy, pesticide and fertilizer usage for the production of foods consumed by different dietary types in California.

Author information

1
1Department of Nutrition,Loma Linda University,24951 North Circle Drive,Loma Linda,CA 92350,USA.
2
2Department of Environmental Health and Geoinformatics Sciences,Loma Linda University,Loma Linda,CA,USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the use of water, energy, pesticides and fertilizer to produce commodities for two dietary patterns that vary in the content of plant and animal products.

DESIGN:

A unique analysis using 'real-world' data was performed, in contrast to previous analyses which applied simulated data. Consumption data from the Adventist Health Study were used to identify two dietary patterns with a markedly different consumption of several plant and animal products. State agricultural data were collected and applied to commodity production statistics. Indices were created to allow a comparison of the resource requirements for each dietary pattern.

SETTING:

California, USA.

SUBJECTS:

None.

RESULTS:

The diet containing more animal products required an additional 10 252 litres of water, 9910 kJ of energy, 186 g of fertilizer and 6 g of pesticides per week in comparison to the diet containing less animal products. The greatest contribution to the difference came from the consumption of animal products, particularly beef.

CONCLUSIONS:

Consuming a more plant-based diet could to an extent alleviate the negative environmental impacts related to food production. As a method to feed ourselves more sustainably, behavioural adjustments appear to be a very important tool.

KEYWORDS:

Food production; Sustainable dietary patterns

PMID:
25517175
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980014002833
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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