STATES CHRONICLE – The vegetarian lifestyle may be better for your health than processed meats, since they were proven to contain carcinogens, but according to a new study eating meat is better for the environment than eating vegetables.
According to a new study performed by scientists at the Carnegie Melon University, turning to vegetables is a lot more destructive for the environment than eating meat. At least in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, that is.
It’s true, processed meats have been declared carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. Even though they do not increase the odds for colorectal cancer by much, the chances increase the more processed meat you consume.
But eating solely vegetables might be even worse for the environment. For example, lettuce produces more than three times greenhouse gas emissions than bacon.
Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy, along with Michelle Tom, Ph.D. student, and Chris Hendrickson of the Hamerschlag University are the researchers behind the study.
As it turns out, greenhouse gases are not the only issue we’re confronting regarding vegetarianism or veganism.
The researchers have found that the healthier foods recommended by the US Department of Agriculture lead to a 38% increase in energy use, a 10% increase in water use, and a 6% increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
These healthier foods recommended by the US Department of Agriculture consist of, but do not stop with dairy, seafood, fruits and vegetables.
According to Professor Fischbeck, a large number of commercialized vegetables require a lot more resources per calorie than anticipated, with eggplants, celery and cucumbers consuming a lot more resources than, say, chicken or pork.
The ways lettuce is processed, grown, used, stored, transported, and sold is overwhelmingly bad for the environment.
Comparing the harm caused to the environment with the amount of calories belonging to both foods, the researchers concluded that per 1000 calories, lettuce is 3 times worse than bacon.
This doesn’t mean that the scientists recommend for us to stop eating vegetables. They started the study in order to figure out what can be done to improve the relationship between our dietary needs and the environment.
What is good for one isn’t necessarily good for the other. So we have to compromise. And officials should be made aware.