Keto diet has highest carbon footprint and lowest nutritional value
Whilst the keto diet ranked worst for climate, a vegan diet was the least impactful, generating 0.7 kg of carbon dioxide per 1,000 calories consumed. This comes as less than a quar of the impact of the keto diet. The vegetarian and pescatarian diets followed behind the vegan diet in increasing climate impact. Interstingly, the pescatarian diet scored highest on the nutritional quality of the diets analysed, with vegetarian and vegan diets following behind. 86% of survey participants in the study consume an omnivore diet. Researchers found that this diet sits in the middle of the pack in terms of both quality and sustainability. Based on the findings, if a third of those on omnivore diets began eating a vegetarian diet for any given day, it would be equivalent to eliminating 340 million passenger vehicle miles. It is worth noting that those who consume an omnivorous diet should opt for plant-forward Mediterranean or fatty meat-limiting DASH diet versions, as this would improve carbon footprints and nutritional quality scores improved. “Climate change is arguably one of the most pressing problems of our time, and a lot of people are interested in moving to a plant-based diet,” Rose said. “Based on our results, that would reduce your footprint and be generally healthy. Our research also shows there’s a way to improve your health and footprint without giving up meat entirely.” In fact, a 2021 United Nations-backed study found that the food industry is responsible for 34% of greenhouse gas emissions. Beef production is responsible for 8-10 times more emissions than chicken production and over 20 times more than nut and legume production.