diet trends

How These 6 Popular Diet Trends Affect the Environment

how diet trends affect the environment

Credit: vaaseenaa

Many people want to improve their health and reduce their environmental impact through diet. Various eating plans can be beneficial for your health, but it is essential to consider how they affect the world, as well as your waistline. Here are the details on six popular diet trends:

1. Vegetarian

Vegetarians do a lot to reduce environmental impact. They avoid meat products, but do consume dairy and eggs. A vegetarian diet has numerous benefits, including reduced heart disease and cancer risk.

However, dairy production is responsible for about 2.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, producing dairy and eggs requires significant amounts of water. You might want to consider reducing your consumption or switching to plant-based alternatives.

2. Vegan

Vegans avoid all animal products, including meat, dairy and eggs, which also helps reduce water usage. Animal agriculture is responsible for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so going vegan makes a big difference. 

However, producing certain vegan products, such as soy, can harm the environment. Plant production is responsible for deforestation in many countries, and using pesticides and fertilizers for their growth can contribute to water pollution. Not all vegan products are created equal — some are more eco-friendly than others. Do your research before you buy.

3. Paleo

The paleo diet is similar to keto — if you’re a follower, you’re likely eating a lot of meat and animal products. This can be healthy, due to consuming fewer carbohydrates, but the environmental impact is generally significant. The emphasis on meat can negatively impact the environment.

Grass-fed beef requires significantly more land than conventionally raised cattle, which can contribute to deforestation and other land-use changes. Paleo dieters should consider reducing their consumption of meat and animal products or switching to a more eco-friendly protein source.

4. Pescatarian

Pescatarians consume fish and seafood, but avoid meat and poultry. This diet can give you significant health benefits, such as reduced stroke due to the omega-3 fatty acids. Your impact on the environment is lower than someone who eats a lot of meat.

However, the disadvantage of this diet is overfishing. This is a major problem worldwide since many fish populations are being depleted at an alarming rate. Additionally, fish farming can negatively affect water quality and contribute to the spread of disease.

5. Flexitarian

A flexitarian follows a primarily plant-based diet, but allows for the occasional consumption of meat and animal products. Flexitarians have less of an impact on the environment than someone whose diet contains meat, but not as much as a vegetarian or vegan. 

Being flexitarian means you’re open to eating plant-based meals more often, which can positively impact the environment. Reducing your meat consumption, even if it’s just a little bit, helps lower your carbon footprint.

6. Commercial Weight Loss Programs

Weight loss is encouraged by popular commercial diet programs like Weight Watchers (WW), which instruct participants on how to make wholesome food selections and consume things in moderation. These programs have the advantage of teaching correct portion sizes, which can help you cut down on the amount of food waste.

You will need a full range of grocery store goods to meet the requirements of these diets. They’re intended to be convenient, but also strongly emphasize packaged goods, which entails more manufacturing and packaging than individuals who follow a noncommercial eating plan. Environmental damage can be especially severe with single-serve products like frozen dinners.

Take Precaution When Following Popular Diet Trends

Regardless of the diet trends followed, you can always make conscious decisions to reduce the environmental impact of food choices. All it takes is a little research. Create a healthier and more sustainable future by making eco-friendly picks beneficial to both the planet and your body.

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