Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK
The production of animal-based foods is associated with higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than plant-based foods. The objective of this study was to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions between self-selected meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Subjects were participants in the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. The diets of 2,041 vegans, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 fish-eaters and 29,589 meat-eaters aged 20–79 were assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Comparable GHG emissions parameters were developed for the underlying food codes using a dataset of GHG emissions for 94 food commodities in the UK, with a weighting for the global warming potential of each component gas. The average GHG emissions associated with a standard 2,000 kcal diet were estimated for all subjects. ANOVA was used to estimate average dietary GHG emissions by diet group adjusted for sex and age. The age-and-sex-adjusted mean (95 % confidence interval) GHG emissions in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per day (kgCO2e/day) were 7.19 (7.16, 7.22) for high meat-eaters ( > = 100 g/d), 5.63 (5.61, 5.65) for medium meat-eaters (50-99 g/d), 4.67 (4.65, 4.70) for low meat-eaters ( < 50 g/d), 3.91 (3.88, 3.94) for fish-eaters, 3.81 (3.79, 3.83) for vegetarians and 2.89 (2.83, 2.94) for vegans. In conclusion, dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans. It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions.
- Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK
- Open Access
- Available under Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Volume 125, Issue 2 , pp 179-192
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7LF, UK
- 2. Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford, OX3 7LF, UK