Special Issue "Healthy Sustainable Diets"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Geography and Social Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Christian Reynolds
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Western BankSheffield, S10 2TN, UK
Interests: the economic and environmental impacts of food consumption and cooking; food waste; sustainable dietary patterns
Prof. Sarah Bridle
Website
Guest Editor
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Interests: the economic and environmental impacts of food consumption and cooking; sustainable dietary patterns; statistical data analysis
Dr. Ximena Schmidt
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Energy Futures, Brunel University, London, UK
Interests: life cycle sustainability aspects of food products; supply chains and consumption patterns; food-waste valorization technologies and circular economy
Ms. Annika Carlsson-Kanyama
Website
Guest Editor
Strategic Sustainability Studies, KTH Royal Institute of Technology , Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: climate; diet; land use; lca, review; scenario
Dr. Bojana Bajzelj
Website
Guest Editor
WRAP Global, 19 George St, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 5BH, UK
Interests: healthy and sustainable diets; food waste; sustainable food systems; strategies to reduce of impacts of food on climate change; biodiversity loss and pollution

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The environmental and nutritional attributes of different food types vary considerably across time and space. Consequently, diets composed of different components of food types will differ in their environmental footprints and in their nutritional quality, and so, they affect human and planetary health differently. When such differences are multiplied by many millions of people, the overall effect is considerable.

This Special Issue is on the broad topic of “healthy sustainable diets”. Although we welcome papers discussing any aspect of healthy sustainable diets and eating, we particulaly encourage papers that focus on furthering the following questions:

1) What dietary patterns would contribute to fewer GHG emissions and other environmental impacts (including food and plastics waste), and are these necessarily healthier, closer to recommended healthy diets, or more affordable?

2)  How do the multiple environmental, health, societal, economic, and cultural aims of sustainable healthy eating patterns and diets support or conflict with one another?  How are food system power dynamics shifted in the move towards healthy sustainable diets?

Further topics of additional investigation may include the following:

  • Discussion on the environmental impacts and health dimensions of current, future, or historical dietary patterns.
  • Highlights and introductions to new (or underutilised) diet and environmental impact datasets (and research methods).
  • Measures and methods to gauge progress of populations towards healthy sustainable diets.
  • Investigation into the health and sustainability of specific meals, recipes, and cuisines.
  • Examination of the impacts of the “use” phase (storage, packaging, cooking, and waste disposal) of healthy sustainable diets.
  • Analysis of food cultural-heritage, consumer acceptance and other social issues that might be affected when shifting to healthy sustainable diets.

We invite papers about all of the above topics, as well as other topics of relevance to this Issue.

Dr. Christian Reynolds
Prof. Sarah Bridle
Dr. Ximena Schmidt
Ms. Annika Carlsson-Kanyama
Dr. Bojana Bajzelj
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • consumption and diets, eating patterns
  • dietary pattern analysis
  • life cycle
  • GHGE
  • cooking
  • nutrition
  • agriculture
  • sustainability, food security, dietary intake
  • behaviour change
  • food environment
  • food waste
  • history of consumption
  • plant-based diets
  • food systems
  • climate-friendly diets
  • healthy sustainable eating

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Environmental Footprints Associated with Dietary Intake of Lebanese Adolescents between the Years 1997 and 2009
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4519; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114519 - 02 Jun 2020
Abstract
Despite global efforts to promote healthy and sustainable diets, the nutrition transition witnessed among adolescents worldwide poses serious threats to health and environmental sustainability. The present study aimed to assess the change in environmental footprints (EFPs) associated with dietary intakes of adolescents in [...] Read more.
Despite global efforts to promote healthy and sustainable diets, the nutrition transition witnessed among adolescents worldwide poses serious threats to health and environmental sustainability. The present study aimed to assess the change in environmental footprints (EFPs) associated with dietary intakes of adolescents in Lebanon between 1997 and 2009. Data of Lebanese adolescents (10–19 years old) were drawn from national food consumption surveys during two time periods (1997, n = 451; 2009, n = 527). Dietary assessments were conducted using 24-h dietary recalls. EFP metrics, including water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), were derived using review of existing life-cycle analyses. All EFPs increased significantly between 1997 and 2009; meat and sugar-sweetened beverages were the top contributors to the increase in these EFPs. The changes in EFPs between the two years remained significant even after adjustment for energy and other correlates: water (β = 267.7, CI: 123.5; 411.9); energy (β = 4.3, CI: 2.09; 6.52) and GHG (β = 0.44, CI: 0.11; 0.76). Findings show significant dietary shifts among adolescents that can threaten the environmental sustainability of Lebanese diets. Interventions across the food system are needed to promote adherence to healthy and sustainable diets among adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessCommunication
Interacting with Members of the Public to Discuss the Impact of Food Choices on Climate Change—Experiences from Two UK Public Engagement Events
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062323 - 17 Mar 2020
Abstract
Food systems contribute to up to 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions are increasing. Since the emissions vary greatly between different foods, citizens’ choices can make a big difference to climate change. Public engagement events are opportunities to communicate these complex [...] Read more.
Food systems contribute to up to 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions are increasing. Since the emissions vary greatly between different foods, citizens’ choices can make a big difference to climate change. Public engagement events are opportunities to communicate these complex issues: to raise awareness about the impact of citizens’ own food choices on climate change and to generate support for changes in all food system activities, the food environment and food policy. This article summarises findings from our ‘Take a Bite Out of Climate Change’ stand at two UK outreach activities during July 2019. We collected engagement information in three main ways: (1) individuals were invited to complete a qualitative evaluation questionnaire comprising of four questions that gauged the person’s interests, perceptions of food choices and attitudes towards climate change; (2) an online multiple-choice questionnaire asking about eating habits and awareness/concerns; and (3) a token drop voting activity where visitors answered the question: ‘Do you consider greenhouse gases when choosing food?’ Our results indicate whether or not people learnt about the environmental impacts of food (effectiveness), how likely they are to move towards a more climate-friendly diet (behavioural change), and how to gather information more effectively at this type of event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Assessment of Dietary Patterns in the United States: A Full Food Supply Chain Perspective
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041586 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
A tiered hybrid input–output-based life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to analyze potential environmental impacts associated with current US food consumption patterns and the recommended USDA food consumption patterns. The greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) in the current consumption pattern (CFP 2547 kcal) and [...] Read more.
A tiered hybrid input–output-based life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to analyze potential environmental impacts associated with current US food consumption patterns and the recommended USDA food consumption patterns. The greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) in the current consumption pattern (CFP 2547 kcal) and the USDA recommended food consumption pattern (RFP 2000 kcal) were 8.80 and 9.61 tons CO2-eq per household per year, respectively. Unlike adopting a vegetarian diet (i.e., RFP 2000 kcal veg or RFP 2600 kcal veg), adoption of a RFP 2000 kcal diet has a probability of increasing GHGEs and other environmental impacts under iso-caloric analysis. The bigger environmental impacts of non-vegetarian RFP scenarios were largely attributable to supply chain activities and food losses at retail and consumer levels. However, the RFP 2000 vegetarian diet showed a significant reduction in the environmental impacts (e.g., GHGEs were 22% lower than CFP 2547). Uncertainty analysis confirmed that the RFP 2600 scenario (mean of 11.2; range 10.3–12.4 tons CO2-eq per household per year) is higher than CFP 2547 (mean of 8.81; range 7.89–9.95 tons CO2-eq per household per year) with 95% confidence. The outcomes highlight the importance of incorporating environmental sustainability into dietary guidelines through the entire life cycle of the food system with a full accounting of the effects of food loss/waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Benchmarking the Swedish Diet Relative to Global and National Environmental Targets—Identification of Indicator Limitations and Data Gaps
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041407 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
To reduce environmental burdens from the food system, a shift towards environmentally sustainable diets is needed. In this study, the environmental impacts of the Swedish diet were benchmarked relative to global environmental boundaries suggested by the EAT-Lancet Commission. To identify local environmental [...] Read more.
To reduce environmental burdens from the food system, a shift towards environmentally sustainable diets is needed. In this study, the environmental impacts of the Swedish diet were benchmarked relative to global environmental boundaries suggested by the EAT-Lancet Commission. To identify local environmental concerns not captured by the global boundaries, relationships between the global EAT-Lancet variables and the national Swedish Environmental Objectives (SEOs) were analysed and additional indicators for missing aspects were identified. The results showed that the environmental impacts caused by the average Swedish diet exceeded the global boundaries for greenhouse gas emissions, cropland use and application of nutrients by two- to more than four-fold when the boundaries were scaled to per capita level. With regard to biodiversity, the impacts caused by the Swedish diet transgressed the boundary by six-fold. For freshwater use, the diet performed well within the boundary. Comparison of global and local indicators revealed that the EAT-Lancet variables covered many aspects included in the SEOs, but that these global indicators are not always of sufficiently fine resolution to capture local aspects of environmental sustainability, such as eutrophication impacts. To consider aspects and impact categories included in the SEO but not currently covered by the EAT-Lancet variables, such as chemical pollution and acidification, additional indicators and boundaries are needed. This requires better inventory data on e.g., pesticide use and improved traceability for imported foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Creating Sustainable Meals Supported by the NAHGAST Online Tool—Approach and Effects on GHG Emissions and Use of Natural Resources
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031136 - 05 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Every diet has an impact on an individual’s health status, the environment, as well as on social concerns. A growing number of meals are consumed in the out-of-home catering sector, in which a systematic sustainability assessment is not part of common practice. In [...] Read more.
Every diet has an impact on an individual’s health status, the environment, as well as on social concerns. A growing number of meals are consumed in the out-of-home catering sector, in which a systematic sustainability assessment is not part of common practice. In order to close this gap, an instrument was developed as part of the NAHGAST project. After more than one year of using the NAHGAST online tool, it needs to be assessed what positive environmental influences can be realized by using the tool. For this reason, this article deals with the question of whether an online tool can enable stakeholders from the out-of-home consumption sector to revise their meals with regard to aspects of a sustainable diet. In addition, it will be answered how precise recipe revisions of the most popular lunchtime meals influence the material footprint as well as the carbon footprint. In conclusion, an online tool can illustrate individual sustainability paths for stakeholders in the out-of-home consumption sector and enables an independent recipe revision for already existing meals. The results show that even slight changes in recipes could lead to savings of up to a third in carbon footprint as well as in material footprint. In relation to the out-of-home consumption sector, this results in the potential for substantial multiplication effects that will pave the way for the dissemination of sustainable nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Resource and Nutritional Resilience on the Global Food Supply System
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020751 - 20 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Pressure points in global food supply where resilience in supply chains can be limited or controlled are the equivalent of Critical Control Points in food safety systems. The approach of using critical control in supply chains can provide insights for nutritional improvement, sustainable [...] Read more.
Pressure points in global food supply where resilience in supply chains can be limited or controlled are the equivalent of Critical Control Points in food safety systems. The approach of using critical control in supply chains can provide insights for nutritional improvement, sustainable food trade and food waste reduction. The pressure points determine the provision of a secure and sustainable food system where the outcomes of reducing their criticality are identified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other international programmes. These seek to reduce climate change impact and improve public health provision. While policy makers are rightly focussed on these targets, the data analysis methods required to rank and associate resource flow pressure points with commercial food supply chains and nutritional goals remain untested. Here, we show how methodologies can identify where opportunities to tackle future criticality exist, and where they are currently being overlooked for food categories that have the greatest consumer and dietary protein demand. The analysis provides insights that identify where latent restrictions in resilience can occur, so that the future risk of food insecurity is reduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling the Food Availability and Environmental Impacts of a Shift Towards Consumption of Healthy Dietary Patterns in Australia
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7124; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247124 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Dietary change has been suggested as a key strategy to maintain food security, improve health and reduce environmental impacts in the face of rising populations, resource scarcity and climate change impacts, particularly in developed countries. This paper presents findings from a quantitative modelling [...] Read more.
Dietary change has been suggested as a key strategy to maintain food security, improve health and reduce environmental impacts in the face of rising populations, resource scarcity and climate change impacts, particularly in developed countries. This paper presents findings from a quantitative modelling analysis of food availability and environmental implications of shifting the current average Australian dietary pattern to one of two alternative, healthy dietary patterns, the ‘healthy mixed diet’, with a mixture of animal and plant foods, and the ‘healthy plant-based diet’, with only plant foods. Both were constructed in accordance with the Australian Dietary Guideline recommendations, and four sustainability principles: Avoiding over-consumption, reducing intake of discretionary foods, reducing animal products, and reducing food waste. It was assumed that all food was provided domestically where possible, and export of foods only occurred when there was a surplus to domestic requirements. The authors compared the impacts of each dietary pattern on direct food availability, water use, land use, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel and energy use and fertiliser use. The plant-based diet had the best overall environmental and direct food availability outcomes, however had key vulnerabilities in terms of fertiliser and cropping land availability. For the agricultural sector overall, changes in diet had little effect on environmental impact due to the amount and nature of Australian exports, indicating that changes to production methods are also necessary. Likewise, changing diets had little effect on the existing environmentally intensive Australian economy, indicating that changes to other sectors are also necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
An Environmental Impact Calculator for 24-h Diet Recalls
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6866; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236866 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The production of food is associated with significant environmental impact. In this paper, we describe the first assessment of the environmental impact of food consumption in the United States using individually reported dietary intake data from a nationally representative sample. Using individual-level dietary [...] Read more.
The production of food is associated with significant environmental impact. In this paper, we describe the first assessment of the environmental impact of food consumption in the United States using individually reported dietary intake data from a nationally representative sample. Using individual-level dietary intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and applying median environmental impact factors compiled by Poore and Nemecek (2018), we estimate that the daily diet that a non-institutionalized U.S. civilian reports results in a mean of 3.92 m2 (95% CI: 3.51–4.34) of land used, 2.26 kg (95% CI: 2.09–2.42)of CO2e emitted, and 159 L (95% CI: 150–168) of freshwater withdrawn. The scope of all impacts is agricultural; transportation, storage, and preparation were not included. These results suggest that the calculator is ready for further development. This calculator can be used to estimate the environmental impact of individual diets in the 5100 studies (as of November 2018) registered with the Automated Self-Administered 24-h Dietary Assessment Tool, in addition to the last two decades of the nationally representative NHANES research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Reducing UK Beef Consumption Using a Revised Sustainable Diets Framework
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6863; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236863 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The impact of beef consumption on sustainability is a complex and evolving area, as sustainability covers many areas from human nutrient adequacy to ecosystem stability. Three sustainability assessment frameworks have been created to help policy makers unpack the complexities of sustainable food systems [...] Read more.
The impact of beef consumption on sustainability is a complex and evolving area, as sustainability covers many areas from human nutrient adequacy to ecosystem stability. Three sustainability assessment frameworks have been created to help policy makers unpack the complexities of sustainable food systems and healthy sustainable dietary change. However, none of these frameworks have yet to be applied to a case study or individual policy issue. This paper uses a hybrid version of the sustainability assessment frameworks to investigate the impact of reducing beef consumption (with a concurrent increase in consumption of plant-based foods, with a focus on legumes) on sustainability at a UK level. The aim of this paper is to understand the applicability of these overarching frameworks at the scale of an individual policy. Such an assessment is important, as this application of previously high-level frameworks to individual policies makes it possible to summarise, at a glance, the various co-benefits and trade-offs associated with a given policy, which may be of particular value in terms of stakeholder decision-making. We find that many of the proposed metrics found within the sustainability assessment frameworks are difficult to implement at an individual issue level; however, overall they show that a reduction in beef consumption and an increase in consumption of general plant-based foods, with a focus around legumes production, would be expected to be strongly beneficial in five of the eight overarching measures which were assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
Open AccessArticle
Mediterranean Diet and Its Environmental Footprints Amid Nutrition Transition: The Case of Lebanon
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6690; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236690 - 26 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Many Mediterranean countries, including Lebanon, are experiencing a shift in food consumption away from the traditional Mediterranean diet (MD), concomitant with the escalating burden of non-communicable diseases and dwindling environmental resources. Objective: to examine the adherence to the MD and its association with [...] Read more.
Many Mediterranean countries, including Lebanon, are experiencing a shift in food consumption away from the traditional Mediterranean diet (MD), concomitant with the escalating burden of non-communicable diseases and dwindling environmental resources. Objective: to examine the adherence to the MD and its association with environmental footprints (EFPs), including water use, energy use, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, among Lebanese adults. Data of Lebanese adults were drawn from the national food consumption survey (n = 2610). Assessment of dietary intake was conducted using a food-frequency questionnaire. Adherence to the MD was examined using four published MD scores. Metrics for the EFPs were calculated using a review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs). For all MD scores, less than 13% of participants were in the highest tertile. After adjustments for covariates, two of the MD scores were associated with lower water use. For GHG, significant inverse associations were observed with all MD scores. Energy use was not associated with MD scores. Overall, low adherence to the MD among Lebanese adults was observed, together with an inverse association between adherence to the MD and water use and GHG emissions. These findings support and enforce ongoing efforts that aim to increase adherence to the MD in order to address health issues, as well as tackle environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Blue Water Use of Dutch Diets and Its Association with Health
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6027; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216027 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Food consumption patterns affect the environment as well as public health, and monitoring is needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Dutch food consumption patterns for environmental (greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and blue water use) and health aspects (Dutch Healthy [...] Read more.
Food consumption patterns affect the environment as well as public health, and monitoring is needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Dutch food consumption patterns for environmental (greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and blue water use) and health aspects (Dutch Healthy Diet index 2015), according to age, gender, and consumption moments. Food consumption data for 4313 Dutch participants aged 1 to 79 years were assessed in 2012 to 2016, by two non-consecutive 24-h recalls. The environmental impact of foods was quantified using a life cycle assessment for, e.g., indicators of GHG emissions and blue water use. The healthiness of diet, operationalized by the Dutch Healthy Diet index 2015, was assessed for 2078 adults aged ≥19 years. The average daily diet in the Netherlands was associated with 5.0 ± 2.0 kg CO2-equivalents of GHG emissions and 0.14 ± 0.08 m3 of blue water use. Meat, dairy and non-alcoholic beverages contributed most to GHG emissions, and non-alcoholic beverages, fruits, and meat to blue water use. More healthy diets were associated with a lower GHG emission and higher blue water use. Different associations of environmental indicators (GHG emissions and blue water use) with health aspects of diets need to be considered when aligning diets for health and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Diets in the UK—Developing a Systematic Framework to Assess the Environmental Impact, Cost and Nutritional Quality of Household Food Purchases
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4974; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184974 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Sustainable diets should not only respect the environment but also be healthy and affordable. However, there has been little work to assess whether real diets can encompass all three aspects. The aim of this study was to develop a framework to quantify actual [...] Read more.
Sustainable diets should not only respect the environment but also be healthy and affordable. However, there has been little work to assess whether real diets can encompass all three aspects. The aim of this study was to develop a framework to quantify actual diet records for health, affordability and environmental sustainability and apply this to UK food purchase survey data. We applied a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to detailed food composition data where purchased food items were disaggregated into their components with traceable environmental impact data. This novel approach is an improvement to earlier studies in which sustainability assessments were based on a limited number of “food groups”, with a potentially high variation of actual food items within each group. Living Costs and Food Survey data for 2012, 2013 and 2014 were mapped into published figures for greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE, taking into account processing, transport and cooking) and land use, a diet quality index (DQI) based on dietary guidelines and food cost, all standardised per household member. Households were classified as having a ‘more sustainable’ diet based on GHGE, cost and land use being less than the median and DQI being higher than the median. Only 16.6% of households could be described as more sustainable; this rose to 22% for those in the lowest income quintile. Increasing the DQI criteria to >80% resulted in only 100 households being selected, representing 0.8% of the sample. The framework enabled identification of more sustainable households, providing evidence of how we can move toward better diets in terms of the environment, health, and costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Relationship between Environmental Impact and Nutrient Content of Sandwiches and Beverages Available in Cafés in a UK University
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113190 - 07 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The threat of climate change and population growth has led to calls for the adoption of environmentally sustainable diets; however, concerns have been raised over the nutritional quality of low Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHGE) diets. This study examined the relationship between measures of [...] Read more.
The threat of climate change and population growth has led to calls for the adoption of environmentally sustainable diets; however, concerns have been raised over the nutritional quality of low Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHGE) diets. This study examined the relationship between measures of environmental sustainability and nutrient content of sandwiches and beverages sold in a UK university café. GHGE and Water Footprint Impact Indicator (WFII) values for the ingredients of sandwiches and beverages were used with recipe information to calculate GHGE (gCO2e per portion) and WFIIs (scarcity weighted litres per portion). These estimates were then combined via orthogonal regression to produce a single Environmental Impact Score (EIS); higher scores equate to greater environmental impact. The relationship between EIS and nutrient content was explored using correlation analysis. Sandwiches that contained meat and animal products as well as beverages that contained milk, cocoa, and/or coffee had the highest EIS. EIS was positively associated with the portion size of sandwiches but not the serving size of beverages. EIS was positively correlated with calories, saturated fat, and sodium. However, EIS was also positively correlated with micronutrients: iron, calcium (beverages only), and B12 (beverages only). The choice of smaller or plant-based sandwiches as well as beverages without milk would reduce environmental impact as well as caloric and sodium intake. However, the selection of low impact options may also reduce the intake of nutrients required for good health. This study revealed possible tensions between nutritional quality and environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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Open AccessCommentary
Breastfeeding: A Cornerstone of Healthy Sustainable Diets
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4958; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184958 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
On a global scale, the world faces impending food scarcity due to rapid population growth and the deleterious impact of climate breakdown on food production. In the absence of radical change, the most vulnerable and detrimentally affected could be the 2 billion additional [...] Read more.
On a global scale, the world faces impending food scarcity due to rapid population growth and the deleterious impact of climate breakdown on food production. In the absence of radical change, the most vulnerable and detrimentally affected could be the 2 billion additional inhabitants expected in the developing nations between now and 2050. A root cause of this future scenario is decreasing breastfeeding rates. As the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Poverty brings the poor in these regions into the middle-classes, there will be an assimilation of Western dietary patterns such as formula feeding and increased intake of livestock and their by-products. Infant formula, the most common alternative to breastmilk, consequently emerges as a formidable driver in the compromise of global food, energy, and water systems. The enormous, intensive water consumption, extensive use of materials for packaging, high-demand use of energy resources in manufacturing, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food miles transportation, and widespread generation of household waste make infant formula production a major environmental concern and a leading contributor to global heating. Exacerbated by population growth, using infant formula to replace breastfeeding irreparably harms societies, economies, and the environment around the world. There is an urgency in addressing the global sustainability impact of using infant formula to replace breastfeeding. It is the purpose of this commentary to demonstrate the social, economic, and environmental costs of using infant formula to replace breastfeeding and provide sufficient evidence to promote breastfeeding as the universal foundation of healthy sustainable diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
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