The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health

A Systematic Review

Lukasz Aleksandrowicz, Rosemary Green, Edward J M Joy, Pete Smith, Andy Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

107 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Food production is a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water and land use, and dietary risk factors are contributors to non-communicable diseases. Shifts in dietary patterns can therefore potentially provide benefits for both the environment and health. However, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of these impacts, and the dietary changes necessary to achieve them. We systematically review the evidence on changes in GHG emissions, land use, and water use, from shifting current dietary intakes to environmentally sustainable dietary patterns. We find 14 common sustainable dietary patterns across reviewed studies, with reductions as high as 70–80% of GHG emissions and land use, and 50% of water use (with medians of about 20–30% for these indicators across all studies) possible by adopting sustainable dietary patterns. Reductions in environmental footprints were generally proportional to the magnitude of animal-based food restriction. Dietary shifts also yielded modest benefits in all-cause mortality risk. Our review reveals that environmental and health benefits are possible by shifting current Western diets to a variety of more sustainable dietary patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165797
JournalPloS ONE
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016

Fingerprint

systematic review
greenhouse gas emissions
Gas emissions
eating habits
Greenhouse gases
Land use
land use
Gases
Health
Water
Food
Environmental Health
water
Insurance Benefits
Nutrition
Uncertainty
Animals
noninfectious diseases
ecological footprint
animal-based foods

Cite this

The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health : A Systematic Review. / Aleksandrowicz, Lukasz; Green, Rosemary; Joy, Edward J M; Smith, Pete; Haines, Andy.

In: PloS ONE, Vol. 11, No. 11, e0165797, 03.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Aleksandrowicz, Lukasz ; Green, Rosemary ; Joy, Edward J M ; Smith, Pete ; Haines, Andy. / The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health : A Systematic Review. In: PloS ONE. 2016 ; Vol. 11, No. 11.
@article{f7b53e02864a4994887fae8ec4bda430,
title = "The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review",
abstract = "Food production is a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water and land use, and dietary risk factors are contributors to non-communicable diseases. Shifts in dietary patterns can therefore potentially provide benefits for both the environment and health. However, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of these impacts, and the dietary changes necessary to achieve them. We systematically review the evidence on changes in GHG emissions, land use, and water use, from shifting current dietary intakes to environmentally sustainable dietary patterns. We find 14 common sustainable dietary patterns across reviewed studies, with reductions as high as 70–80{\%} of GHG emissions and land use, and 50{\%} of water use (with medians of about 20–30{\%} for these indicators across all studies) possible by adopting sustainable dietary patterns. Reductions in environmental footprints were generally proportional to the magnitude of animal-based food restriction. Dietary shifts also yielded modest benefits in all-cause mortality risk. Our review reveals that environmental and health benefits are possible by shifting current Western diets to a variety of more sustainable dietary patterns.",
author = "Lukasz Aleksandrowicz and Rosemary Green and Joy, {Edward J M} and Pete Smith and Andy Haines",
note = "Funding: This work was supported by Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health to LA (http://lcirah.ac.uk/). Wellcome Trust Our Planet, Our Health, Grant 103932 to RG and EJ (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Strategic-funding/Our-planet-our-health/index.htm). This study is part of the Sustainable and Healthy Diets in India (SAHDI) project. The funders of this study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.",
year = "2016",
month = "11",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0165797",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
journal = "PloS ONE",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE",
number = "11",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health

T2 - A Systematic Review

AU - Aleksandrowicz, Lukasz

AU - Green, Rosemary

AU - Joy, Edward J M

AU - Smith, Pete

AU - Haines, Andy

N1 - Funding: This work was supported by Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health to LA (http://lcirah.ac.uk/). Wellcome Trust Our Planet, Our Health, Grant 103932 to RG and EJ (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Strategic-funding/Our-planet-our-health/index.htm). This study is part of the Sustainable and Healthy Diets in India (SAHDI) project. The funders of this study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.

PY - 2016/11/3

Y1 - 2016/11/3

N2 - Food production is a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water and land use, and dietary risk factors are contributors to non-communicable diseases. Shifts in dietary patterns can therefore potentially provide benefits for both the environment and health. However, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of these impacts, and the dietary changes necessary to achieve them. We systematically review the evidence on changes in GHG emissions, land use, and water use, from shifting current dietary intakes to environmentally sustainable dietary patterns. We find 14 common sustainable dietary patterns across reviewed studies, with reductions as high as 70–80% of GHG emissions and land use, and 50% of water use (with medians of about 20–30% for these indicators across all studies) possible by adopting sustainable dietary patterns. Reductions in environmental footprints were generally proportional to the magnitude of animal-based food restriction. Dietary shifts also yielded modest benefits in all-cause mortality risk. Our review reveals that environmental and health benefits are possible by shifting current Western diets to a variety of more sustainable dietary patterns.

AB - Food production is a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water and land use, and dietary risk factors are contributors to non-communicable diseases. Shifts in dietary patterns can therefore potentially provide benefits for both the environment and health. However, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of these impacts, and the dietary changes necessary to achieve them. We systematically review the evidence on changes in GHG emissions, land use, and water use, from shifting current dietary intakes to environmentally sustainable dietary patterns. We find 14 common sustainable dietary patterns across reviewed studies, with reductions as high as 70–80% of GHG emissions and land use, and 50% of water use (with medians of about 20–30% for these indicators across all studies) possible by adopting sustainable dietary patterns. Reductions in environmental footprints were generally proportional to the magnitude of animal-based food restriction. Dietary shifts also yielded modest benefits in all-cause mortality risk. Our review reveals that environmental and health benefits are possible by shifting current Western diets to a variety of more sustainable dietary patterns.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0165797

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0165797

M3 - Article

VL - 11

JO - PloS ONE

JF - PloS ONE

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 11

M1 - e0165797

ER -