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Which Diet Has the Least Environmental Impact on Our Planet? A Systematic Review of Vegan, Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diets

Design & Consumer Behaviour Section, Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 26, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154110
Received: 11 July 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 24 July 2019 / Published: 30 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Linkages between Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainability)
The food that we consume has a large impact on our environment. The impact varies significantly between different diets. The aim of this systematic review is to address the question: Which diet has the least environmental impact on our planet? A comparison of a vegan, vegetarian and omnivorous diets. This systematic review is based on 16 studies and 18 reviews. The included studies were selected by focusing directly on environmental impacts of human diets. Four electronic bibliographic databases, PubMed, Medline, Scopus and Web of Science were used to conduct a systematic literature search based on fixed inclusion and exclusion criteria. The durations of the studies ranged from 7 days to 27 years. Most were carried out in the US or Europe. Results from our review suggest that the vegan diet is the optimal diet for the environment because, out of all the compared diets, its production results in the lowest level of GHG emissions. Additionally, the reviewed studies indicate the possibility of achieving the same environmental impact as that of the vegan diet, without excluding the meat and dairy food groups, but rather, by reducing them substantially. View Full-Text
Keywords: omnivorous; vegan; vegetarian; sustainable; diet; GHG; LCA; carbon; environment; footprint; systematic review omnivorous; vegan; vegetarian; sustainable; diet; GHG; LCA; carbon; environment; footprint; systematic review
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Chai, B.C.; van der Voort, J.R.; Grofelnik, K.; Eliasdottir, H.G.; Klöss, I.; Perez-Cueto, F.J.A. Which Diet Has the Least Environmental Impact on Our Planet? A Systematic Review of Vegan, Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diets. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4110.

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