Fad dieting could be impacting the environment, according to a new study.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at how consumer demand and food trends directly impact the environment.
The study classifies six types of popular diets – vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, keto and an ‘other’ category.
The study relied on secondary data produced from 2005-2010. Individuals were observed for a 24-hour period, and scientists calculated the carbon footprint created per 1000 kcal of what they ate in that period. The scientists also assessed the diet based on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI|) and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI.)
Results of the study
The study rated vegan and vegetarian diets as the least harmful for the environment. People who followed this diet produced between 0.7kg and 1.2kg of Carbon Dioxide.
Pescatarian diets created a footprint of 1.66kg of Carbon Dioxide.
Surprisingly, an omnivore diet produced only 2.23 kg of Carbon Dioxide. Many arguments have been made that eating meat is one of the worst things that can be done for the environment.
Producing more greenhouse gases than an omnivore diet, Keto produced 2.6kg and Paleo produced 2.92kg.
A paleo diet, for those who do not know, is a diet consisting of foods that would have been eaten by early humans in the Paleolithic era; which was 2.5 million-10,000 years ago. The diet often involves avoiding grains, beans, lentils, peanuts, dairy, refined sugar, salt, corn and processed foods, according to the Mayo clinic.
The scientists ranked fish-based diets as the healthiest.