Vegan diets have a significantly smaller environmental impact than a Mediterranean diet according to new research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
For the study, researchers compared the total environmental impact of a vegan diet that is free of all animal products with a Mediterranean diet that allows for the consumption of dairy as well as fish and chicken. The vegan diet “showed about 44% less total environmental impact when compared to the Mediterranean diet, despite the fact that the content of animal products of the latter was low (with 10.6% of the total diet calories).”
As part of the study researchers applied Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to investigate the total environmental impact of the two diets, according to relevant Italian nutritional recommendations. The two diets share the same macronutrient rates and cover all the nutritional recommendations.
Calculations were made on the basis of a theoretical one-week 2000 kcal/day diet.
The study states that the results “clearly supports the concept that meat and dairy consumption plays a critical role, above all, in terms of damage to human health and ecosystems. Our study supports the thesis that even a minimal-to-moderate content of animal foods has a consistent impact on the environmental footprint of a diet, and their reduction can elicit significant ecological benefits.”
More information on this study can be found by clicking here.