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Top 14 Foods Linked to High Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The idea that eating less does good both to your organism and the environment is already well-established, but nobody really quite tackled the issue of what to eat in order to reduce your greenhouse gas footprint.

A UK study done at RMIT University and Lancaster University has resulted into a list of foods and their associated carbon emissions, per weight. This could be useful so “chefs, caterers and everyday foodies can cook meals without cooking the planet.”

The reseachers reviewed 369 studies that provided 1718 values for 168 varieties of fresh produce including vegetables, fruit, dairy products, staples, meat, chicken and fish.

Surely you already guessed by now that fruits and vegetables have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions associated with them, while chicken and pork got poorer rankings. However, beef and lamb scored worst, maybe due to their farting habits.

So here’s the list:

  • 5.8 kilograms (12.7 pounds) of onions (about 50 medium onions)
  • 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds) of apples (about 20 medium apples)
  • 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) oats
  • 1 kilograms (2.2 pounds) lentils
  • 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds) of peanuts
  • 800 milliliters (27 fluid ounces) of milk
  • 290 grams (10.2 ounces) of salmon
  • 290 grams of eggs (about 5 small eggs)
  • 270 grams (9.5 ounces) of chicken
  • 244 grams (8.6 ounces) of kangaroo
  • 212 grams (7.5 ounces) of rabbit
  • 174 grams (6.1 ounces) of pork (world average)
  • 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of lamb (world average)
  • 38 grams (1.3 ounces) of beef (world average)

It is said by some that one third of the greenhouse gas emissions are being produced by food – some agree, some don’t. These values above are just an estimation of reality, since emissions, just like the MPG when driving a car, may vary with the diversity of methods involved in raising those poor cute lambs and cows we’re going to put into burgers.

Our advice to you folks reading this:


Whatever you eat, be it beef or onions (or both), eating less of the stuff will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions and less belly for you. And the fact that if you’re a vegetarian you have to eat more to get the same results as a meat lover is also to compensate for the low amount of greenhouse gas that vegetables emit. I’m not saying it’s the same thing as eating only beef burgers for all your life, but it counts to the final figure.

I don’t like extremes and extremists. So I guess that eating less of everything is the best conclusion to this study. imho. Let’s hear yours.

[via treehugger][image (c) Braden Kowitz/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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