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published on December 6, 2021 - 11:26 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A new study breaks down the relationship between food production and greenhouse gas emissions, with the research putting 41% more blame on male eating habits than women.

The study published last month by U.K.-based academic journal PLOS One broke down the biggest culprits for emissions.

Based on the assertion that food production accounts for 30% of all emissions, researchers analyzed the eating habits of more than 200 people in the U.K. They found that the food eaten by men causes 41% more emissions than women — largely associated with increased meat consumption.

The study identified 3,233 generic food items, assigning general levels of emissions based on previous studies. The study did not take into account the water usage of individual crops.

Of the 30% of total emissions caused by food production, 32% of that comes from meat alone, with drinks coming in second place, according to studies cited in the research. Drinks account for 15% of emissions, followed by dairy with 14% and desserts making up 8%.

The 24% of combined emissions associated with tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages as well as desserts suggests a large portion of those emissions are largely optional diet choices.

Non-vegetarian diets were associated with 59% higher emissions than vegetarians. And fewer desserts from vegetarians also suggests healthier diets in general, according to the study.

Diets that met suggested intake levels of sodium, carbohydrates and proteins generally corresponded with lower emissions levels.

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