Want to make the world a healthier place? A pair of ecologists from the University of Minnesota say hold the bacon, burgers and brisket, and opt for Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets. The scientists examined these three diets with an eye toward human health, as well as the planet's well-being, and argue that improved culinary habits is a path to a more robust constitution.
"We showed that the same dietary changes that can add about a decade to our lives can also prevent massive environmental damage," said lead study author and global ecosystems expert David Tilman, in a statement.
That eating more greens and less meat is good for both you and your planet is not exactly a new conceit, but the researchers took an explicit look at the potential for 22 types of foodstuffs to impact climate change. Per gram of protein, the greenhouse gas emissions of ruminant animals - cattle, sheep, goats, elk and their ilk - far outstripped that of any other type of food. Emissions per gram protein from growing legumes, on the other hand, was 250 times less than that of ruminants, the scientists reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday.