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Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12837-12855; doi:10.3390/su70912837

Combining Low Price, Low Climate Impact and High Nutritional Value in One Shopping Basket through Diet Optimization by Linear Programming

1
Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum), Eisenhowerlaan 108, 2508 CK The Hague, The Netherlands
2
Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University, Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3
Blonk Consultants, Gravin Beatrixstraat 34, 2805 PJ Gouda, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 5 June 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [982 KB, 22 September 2015; original version 18 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

Background: This study aims to find diets with low price and low climate impact, yet fulfilling all nutritional requirements. Methods: Optimization by linear programming. The program constrains 33 nutrients to fulfill Dutch dietary requirements. In a second cycle, the upper boundary for climate impact through greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) is set to 1.6 kg carbon dioxide equivalents/day (CO2eq). In a third cycle, the costs are set on €2.50 as a constraint. The objective function of the optimization maximized the most consumed food products (n = 206) for male and female adults separately (age 31–50). Results: A diet of 63 popular and low priced basic products was found to deliver all required nutrients at an adequate level for both male and female adults. This plant-based, carbohydrate and fiber-rich diet consists mainly of wholegrain bread, potatoes, muesli, open-field vegetables and fruits. The climate impact of this diet is very low (1.59 kg CO2eq/day) compared to the average Dutch diet. By constraining costs, a low carbon diet of €2.59/day is possible. Conclusions: A two-person diet consisting of 63 products and costing €37 per week can simultaneously be healthy and yet have half the average climate impact. Linear programming is a promising tool to combine health and sustainability on both societal and individual levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate impact; greenhouse gas emissions; nutritional adequacy; affordable food; linear programming; sustainable diets climate impact; greenhouse gas emissions; nutritional adequacy; affordable food; linear programming; sustainable diets
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

van Dooren, C.; Tyszler, M.; Kramer, G.F.H.; Aiking, H. Combining Low Price, Low Climate Impact and High Nutritional Value in One Shopping Basket through Diet Optimization by Linear Programming. Sustainability 2015, 7, 12837-12855.

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