The human being needs to ingest a certain amount of calories, depending on the activity he performs, in order to live. Vegetables have a lower calorie density than other products such as meat or fatty products. So to maintain ourselves we would have to consume more fruits and vegetables by weight than pork belly. However, it is healthier to consume the former than the latter.
But is it better to be a vegetarian in the face of global warming? You tend to think so, but a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University denies this alternative, at least if we eat a lot of vegetables.
Furthermore, if the USDA recommendations are followed that we should eat more fruits, dairy products and fish, it results in greenhouse gas emissions increasing more than if we eat a bad diet.
The reason is that, per calorie, the production of fruits and vegetables emits more greenhouse gases than other products. So, for example, eating lettuce is three times worse in this respect than pork bacon, according to Paul Fischbeck.
“Many vegetables require more resources per calorie than you think. Eggplants, celery and cucumbers look bad when compared to pork or chicken, ”he adds.
This researcher and his collaborators analyzed the food supply chain when studying the obesity epidemic in the United States and how it affects the environment. They looked at details such as sales and distribution services, warehousing, food transportation, processing, or how they are produced. With this they were able to calculate greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and energy consumption.
On the one hand, they show that keeping our weight under control and eating fewer calories has a positive effect on the environment (in addition to our health) by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and the consumption of energy and water. The estimated saving is 9%.
However, if you eat a healthy diet in which there are more fruits, vegetables, dairy and fish, the impact rises in all three categories, with 38% more energy consumption, 10% more water consumption and 6% more greenhouse gas emissions
The relationship between diet and the environment is complex and not always something that is good for our health is necessarily good for the environment.
According to this researcher, it is important that the authorities are aware of these types of limitations when preparing feeding guides for the future.
Obviously one of the problems of fruits and vegetables is their transport and storage, which consume a lot of energy and, therefore, produce emissions. For this reason it is recommended to eat local seasonal products.
Also the production of food without using pesticides and chemical fertilizers reduces emissions. The question is whether the human population can now be fed with these ecological production methods. Perhaps we are already many inhabitants so that ecological agriculture can feed us. Possibly we have already exceeded this limit by 2000 million inhabitants. To which must be added the problems of desertification, destruction of agricultural land, etc.