There is public focus on the environmental impact, and in particular, the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), related to our food consumption. The aim of the present study was to estimate the carbon footprint (CF), land use and nutritional impact of the different beef products ready to eat in different real-life dietary patterns. Beef products accounted for 513, 560, 409 and 1023 g CO2
eq per day, respectively, in the four dietary patterns (Traditional, Fast-food, Green, and High-beef). The total CFs of these diets were 4.4, 4.2, 4.3 and 5.0 kg CO2
eq per day (10 MJ),
respectively. The Green diet had almost the same CF as the Traditional and the Fast-food diets despite having the lowest intake of beef as well as the lowest intake of red meat in total. A theoretical substitution of beef with other animal products or legumes in each of these three diets reduced the diets’ CF by 4–12% and land use by 5–14%. As regards nutrients, both positive and negative impacts of these substitutions were found but only a few of particular nutritional importance, indicating that replacing beef with a combination of other foods without a significant effect on the nutrient profile of the diet is a potential mitigation option.
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