‘Traffic-light system’ quantifies foods’ health and environmental impact

Dietary choices affect both the environment and human health.

Consuming too many unhealthy foods and too few healthy foods are leading causes of health burden in the United States. One studyTrusted Source found that in 2017, dietary factors contributed to 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life years globally.

What we eat also impacts the environment by influencing food productionTrusted Source, which affects land use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Research has suggested that food systems have environmental limitations. One studyTrusted Source found that, under current conditions, the planet’s food system can only provide 43% of the world’s population, or 3.4 billion people, with a balanced diet.

Another studyTrusted Source found that if we do not adopt technological changes and prevention strategies, our food system will exceed planetary boundaries safe for humanity by 2050.

Simultaneously quantifying the health and environmental risk factors of different foods could help policymakers, food producers, and consumers make dietary choices that benefit both human health and the environment.

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Michigan and Victor L FulgoniTrusted Source from Nutrition Impact, LLC, created a scale that combines the environmental impact of foods alongside their health effects to help consumers improve their dietary health while protecting the environment. Read more>>

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