Research Says Vegetarian Diets Are Bad For Environment

Lettuce could be thrice as bad as bacon when it comes to emissions.

A new study conducted at the renowned Carnegie Mellon University argues that vegetarian diets, in general, are bad for the environment. Researchers conducted the study in the wake of a new set of dietary recommendations prescribed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA has been urging people to incorporate more plant-based food items in their diet in order to cut down the greenhouse emissions caused in the process of meat production and meat handling.

California’s former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has long been a strong advocate of protecting the environment by turning at least part-time vegetarian. Schwarzenegger told the BBC that meat farming is the cause behind 28 percent of global emissions.

According to the United Nations (UN), emissions from fisheries, forestry and farming have almost doubled over the last 50 years. The UN estimates that this is likely going to go up by another 30 percent by 2050.

Most of the emissions from meat farming come from belching of livestock and nitrogen fertilizers.

However, this new study argues that cucumbers, celery and eggplant are worse than chicken or pork when it comes to emissions.

An independent think tank, Chatham House’s, senior researcher Anthony Froggatt says that it is true that something like lettuce can be highly water and energy intensive to produce, but the raising and growing method for such food items can significantly alter their impact on the environment.

The Environment Systems and Decisions journal published the findings from the new study which included research into diet pills. It is noteworthy that researchers have not essentially argued against the idea that humans should be consuming less meat.

Also, they have not placed any arguments against the fact that livestock contributes enormously to global emissions. According to some studies, the percentage is as high as 50 percent.

Their argument revolves around the idea that eating only those “healthier” food items as prescribed by the USDA, increases the individual’s impact on the environment.

When concluding the findings of their study, experts took into account the environmental impact of growing, processing, storing, selling and household storage cum use of certain food items.