Shockingly, a plant-based diet may produce more carbon dioxide that originally thought, leading scientists to question whether a vegetarian diet is any better for the environment than a diet containing meat.
In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists concluded after analyzing the eating habits of 2000 French adults that carbon emissions from growing fruits and vegetables generated a higher level of greenhouse gas than previously thought because in order to get the same amount of protein in a meat-based diet, a vegetarian needs to consume up to 9 pounds of fruit and vegetables daily to equal a smaller serving of meat.
All aspects of a food’s lifecycle were taken into account, including the cooking method.
Approximately 1,600 grams of carbon dioxide were emitted for every 100 grams of meat produced, more than 15 times the amount of greenhouse gas emitted during the production of fruits, vegetables and starches. It is also 2.5 times higher that gas emitted from fish, eggs, pork, and poultry.
However, when the researchers looked the grams of carbon dioxide emitted per 100 kilocalories the gap narrowed. 857 grams of greenhouse gas, the highest level, was still emitted to produce 100 kcal of meat, but it was only three times the emissions level from a similar amount of energy from fruit and vegetables.
The fruits and vegetables themselves are not high in greenhouse gasses, but it the production of the volume necessary that raises the level. In fact, the vegetarian diets studied produced 5000 grams of CO2 emissions per day per person.
Leigh is a Senior Technical Writer at Ambit Energy in Dallas, Texas. Prior to her work in the energy sector, Leigh spent years specializing in life saving engineering projects for the US Department of Defense. In her spare time, Leigh pursues her passions of environmental awareness, dog rescue, and defending the place of art, literature, and music in a world that values science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
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Every time you breath out or break wind your the cause of climate change. I've concluded that global warming only happens during the day. Water is wet and the sky is in a upward direction most of the time. Just because you finally noticed something that's been happening since the last ice age doesn't mean you can control it. Remember Elnino the warming of the ocean off of California? It's been happening for millions of years but all of the sudden (since we deployed sensors) we think we caused it or can control it. Wake up people the whole thing is a ploy to control economic development and redistribute wealth. The world is full of those who try to control the masses through fear, fear of war, fear of extinction, fear of meteors hitting the earth, fear of super eruptions, or mass solar eruptions what ever. My suggestion is for you to think for yourself. All the people saying the corporate system controls the media and lies to the people to keep them in fear are the very same using the same tactics to spread their message. Always the battle for the hearts and minds of the people. People are just plain dumb. I know that sounds degrading but the facts speak for themselves. As a group you are easily swayed one way or another by a constant input of slighted information. Truth has to be sought out, it will not be supplied. Respect is something earned not given because of status. Actions speak louder than words. Oh and yes it does affect you even though you say it doesn't directly. (We are all in the same boat called Earth)