Go vegetarian to save planet: Scientists

Just go vegetarian and cut the amount of beef, sugar and cheese you eat, suggested a study.

Updated: Oct 22, 2010, 23:36 PM IST

London: Want to do your bit to save the planet? Just go vegetarian and cut the amount of beef, sugar and cheese you eat, a British study has suggested.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia who analysed the nutritional and environmental effects of different kinds of foods in UK found that people contribute more to greenhouse gas emission by eating huge amount of beef and dairy products.

According to the research, commissioned by UK`s Food Standards Agency, "diets should change to help the planet with beef replaced by pork, cheese by eggs, ice-cream by yoghurt and whisky by beer", the Telegraph reported.

The report recommenced eating less beef, sugar and cheese as well as drinking less tea and coffee. It also advised to eat more pulses and cereals instead.

Other recommendations included eating more seasonal produce to reduce transportation and switching to microwave ovens and pressure cookers to use less energy in preparing food.

The report suggests that schools, hospitals and other public bodies should be expected to lead a change in national behaviour by putting food on their menus which has contributed little to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"The highest GHG emissions are associated with beef, cheese, coffee, tea and cocoa consumption," said the report.

"The way we as a society, and as individuals, choose to mitigate climate change as regards food, will also alter the way we eat," it concluded.

The university was at the centre of allegations last year that it had manipulated climate change data to magnify the problem.

Its new report, called Food and Climate Change, is also expected to raise opposition among those who enjoy eating produce from around the world at any time of the year.

However, the recommendations will be welcomed by vegetarian campaigners and those who support organic farming, which is recognised in the study as producing food that is lowest in harmful emissions.

A spokesman for the National Farmers` Union said: "It is simply not true that fruit and vegetables are a better climate option than meat and milk. You have to look at how these crops are produced in terms of the energy used for growing and transport."

PTI