Monday January 27, 2020

Researchers Identify Climate-friendly Diets Are Also Healthier

"We can have both. We can have healthier diets and reduce our food-related emissions. And it doesn't require the extreme of eliminating foods entirely," Rose said.

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The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, also found that organic food provides significant, additional climate benefits for plant-based diets. Wikimedia Commons
One of the biggest reasons why people like to avoid shopping in supermarkets is that they simply want to cut down on checkout wait time. Wikimedia Commons

After examining the carbon footprint of what more than 16,000 Americans eat in a day, researchers have identified that more climate-friendly diets are also healthier, according to a study.

“People whose diets had a lower carbon footprint were eating less red meat and dairy — which contribute to a larger share of greenhouse gas emissions and are high in saturated fat — and consuming more healthy foods like poultry, whole grains and plant-based proteins,” said lead author Diego Rose from the Tulane University in New Orleans.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers built an extensive database of the greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of foods and linked it to a large federal survey that asked people what they ate over a 24-hour period.

They ranked diets by the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per 1,000 calories consumed and divided them into five equal groups.

Then they rated the nutritional value of foods consumed in each diet using the US Healthy Eating Index, a federal measure of diet quality, and compared the lowest to the highest-impact groups on this and other measures.

Americans in the lowest carbon footprint group ate a healthier diet, as measured by this index. However, these diets also contained more of some low-emission items that aren’t healthy, namely added sugars and refined grains.

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Climate-friendly diets are also healthier: Study. Flickr

They also had lower amounts of important nutrients — such as iron, calcium, and vitamin D — likely because of the lower intakes of meat and dairy.

According to the researcher, overall, diets in the lowest impact group were healthier, but not on all measures. This is because diets are complex with many ingredients that each influence nutritional quality and environmental impacts.

Diets in the highest impact group accounted for five times the emissions of those in the lowest impact group. The highest impact diets had greater quantities of meat (beef, veal, pork and game), dairy and solid fats per 1000 calories than the low-impact diets.

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“We can have both. We can have healthier diets and reduce our food-related emissions. And it doesn’t require the extreme of eliminating foods entirely,” Rose said.

“For example, if we reduce the amount of red meat in our diets, and replace it with other protein foods such as chicken, eggs, or beans, we could reduce our carbon footprint and improve our health at the same time.” (IANS)

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Here’s why You Should Drink Tea 3 Times a Week

Want to live longer? Drink tea at least 3 times a week

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Tea 3 times week
Researchers have found that drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life. Lifetime Stock

Good news for tea lovers! Researchers have found that drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life.

“Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death,” said study first author Xinyan Wang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing in China.

“The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers,” Wang added.

Tea week
Drinking tea three times a week is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death. Lifetime Stock

The analysis, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, included 1,00,902 participants of the China-PAR project2 with no history of heart attack, stroke, or cancer.

Participants were classified into two groups: habitual tea drinkers (three or more times a week) and never or non-habitual tea drinkers (less than three times a week) and followed-up for a median of 7.3 years.

Habitual tea consumption was associated with more healthy years of life and longer life expectancy.

For example, the analyses estimated that 50-year-old habitual tea drinkers would develop coronary heart disease and stroke 1.41 years later and live 1.26 years longer than those who never or seldom drank tea.

Compared with never or non-habitual tea drinkers, habitual tea consumers had a 20 per cent lower risk of incident heart disease and stroke, 22 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 15 per cent decreased risk of all-cause death.

The potential influence of changes in tea drinking behaviour were analysed in a subset of 14,081 participants with assessments at two time points.

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The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers. Lifetime Stock

The average duration between the two surveys was 8.2 years, and the median follow-up after the second survey was 5.3 years.

Habitual tea drinkers who maintained their habit in both surveys had a 39 per cent lower risk of incident heart disease and stroke, 56 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 29 per cent decreased risk of all-cause death compared to consistent never or non-habitual tea drinkers.

“The protective effects of tea were most pronounced among the consistent habitual tea drinking group. Mechanism studies have suggested that the main bioactive compounds in tea, namely polyphenols, are not stored in the body long-term,” said study senior author Dongfeng Gu.

“Thus, frequent tea intake over an extended period may be necessary for the cardioprotective effect,” Gu added.

In a sub-analysis by type of tea, drinking green tea was linked with approximately 25 per cent lower risks for incident heart disease and stroke, fatal heart disease and stroke, and all-cause death.

However, no significant associations were observed for black tea, the study said.

According to the researchers, two factors may be at play. First, green tea is a rich source of polyphenols which protect against cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high blood pressure and dyslipidaemia.

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Black tea is fully fermented and during this process polyphenols are oxidised into pigments and may lose their antioxidant effects.

Second, black tea is often served with milk, which previous research has shown may counteract the favourable health effects of tea on vascular function, the study said. (IANS)