Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reining in red meat consumption cuts chronic disease risk and carbon footprint

Date:
September 11, 2012
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Reducing red and processed meat consumption would not only prompt a fall in chronic disease incidence of between three and 12 per cent in the UK, but our carbon footprint would shrink by 28 million tons a year, suggests new research.

Reducing red and processed meat consumption would not only prompt a fall in chronic disease incidence of between 3 and 12 per cent in the UK, but our carbon footprint would shrink by 28 million tonnes a year, suggests new research.
Credit: © petunyia / Fotolia

Reducing red and processed meat consumption would not only prompt a fall in chronic disease incidence of between 3 and 12 per cent in the UK, but our carbon footprint would shrink by 28 million tonnes a year, suggests research published in the online only journal BMJ Open.

Related Articles


Food and drink account for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions attributable to UK consumers, with livestock farming accounting for around half of this proportion, owing to the large quantity of cereals and soy imported for animal feed.

Even when imported foods are taken out of the equation, the government's 2050 target for an 80% cut in the UK's carbon footprint will be "unattainable" without a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming, say the authors, citing the Committee on Climate Change.

Previously published evidence shows that the risks of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer rise by 42%, 19%, and 18% respectively, with every additional 50 g of red and processed meat eaten daily.

The authors used responses to the 2000-2001 British National Diet and Nutrition Survey to estimate red and processed meat intake across the UK population and published data from life cycle analyses to quantify average greenhouse gas emissions for 45 different food categories.

They then devised a feasible "counterfactual" alternative, based on a doubling of the proportion of survey respondents who said they were vegetarian -- to 4.7% of men and 12.3% of women -- and the remainder adopting the same diet as those in the bottom fifth of red and processed meat consumption.

Those in the top fifth of consumption ate 2.5 times as much as those in the bottom fifth, the survey responses showed.

Therefore, adopting the diet of those eating the least red and processed meat would mean cutting average consumption from 91 to 53 g a day for men and from 54 to 30 g for women.

The calculations showed that this would significantly cut the risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and bowel cancer by between 3 and 12 per cent across the population as a whole.

And this reduction in risk would be more than twice as much as the population averages for those at the top end of consumption who moved to the bottom end.

Furthermore, the expected reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would amount to 0.45 tonnes per person per year, or just short of 28 million tonnes of the equivalent of CO2 a year.

The authors acknowledge that their data are a decade old, but the most recent nutrition survey (2008/9) indicates broadly similar and even slightly higher figures for red and processed meat consumption.

"This indicates that our estimates remain relevant and may even be conservative, highlighting the need for action to prevent further increases in intake in the UK population," they suggest.

And while it may be harder for people to understand the direct impact that climate change has on them, it is much easier to understand the impact on their health, they say.

"Health benefits provide near term rewards to individuals for climate friendly changes and may thus 'nudge' humanity towards a sustainable future," suggest the authors. "Dietary recommendations should no longer be based on direct health effects alone."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. M. Aston, J. N. Smith, J. W. Powles. Impact of a reduced red and processed meat dietary pattern on disease risks and greenhouse gas emissions in the UK: a modelling study. BMJ Open, 2012; 2 (5): e001072 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001072

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Reining in red meat consumption cuts chronic disease risk and carbon footprint." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091658.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2012, September 11). Reining in red meat consumption cuts chronic disease risk and carbon footprint. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091658.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Reining in red meat consumption cuts chronic disease risk and carbon footprint." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091658.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins