Carbon Footprint of Meat vs Vegetables

Before going to the depth of the presence of carbon footprint in the eatable types like flesh and vegetable, it is of utmost importance to break the myths and hype around the issue. Generally, eatables are quite a sensitive topic between human beings. Diversity in opinions basis the family habits, regional beliefs, everyone lives with a preconceived notion of a high nutrition wholesome diet differently.

However, there’s an increasing awareness regarding the climatic and environmental effects of what we eat and emit. With this, it is an alarming time to think about food preferences and environmental well-being. This footprint has been reasoned as one of the most prominent environment polluting substances.

What exactly is carbon footprint?

It is an amount of gas, majorly carbon, which is emitted in the air through regular activities carried out by a human being. From driving a car to using electricity, the carbon content is omnipresent. In terms of eatables and goods, the end usage of the eatables releases a higher carbon dioxide level in the air.

The footprints emitted by substances people eat are usually the gas emissions released through farming, processing, warehousing and disposal. According to a survey in the USA, an average of forty-eight tons of gases is emitted by a single family. Carbon from edibles and transportation are primary components adding to it.

How many times did you ponder upon the fact that the food consumed in everyday life could be impacting the atmosphere to a great extent? Yes, even the slightest transition in consumption can work wonders to reduce the footprint around you.

Not only the atmosphere, by keeping some regular eating habits in check, but the journey towards a healthy and fit life will also seem easier.

There have been quite a lot of discussions around the footprint content between saturated and unsaturated foods. Products such as meat, cheese and eggs emit the highest amount of greenhouse gases. While natural components of foods such as fruits and vegetables emit a lower content of this footprint, the decision of switching to foods of lower-calorie can have a great impact. This effect would be on both, your physical health and your surroundings.

How is it calculated?

A lot of factors are taken into consideration while calculating a carbon footprint. For example, driving to the grocery store burns a certain amount of fuel, and fossil fuels are the primary sources of greenhouses gases. However, that grocery store is powered by electricity, and its employees probably drove to work, so the store has its footprint.

Also, the products that the store sells were all shipped there, so that must also be factored into the total carbon content. Beyond that, the fruits, vegetables, and meats that the store sells were all grown or raised on farms. It is a process that produces methane, which has a greenhouse effect 25 times greater than CO2. All of those elements must be combined to understand the full carbon remnants of a given activity.

Ranking of edibles as per the footprint

Let’s discuss some of the foods and their carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Foods such as lamb, beef, cheese, pork, etc. emit carbon dioxide level between 39 to 12 Kgs. Foods such as eggs, potatoes, rice, nuts, beans, fruit, milk and lentils contain a carbon content of 4 to 1Kgs. This comparison clearly states the impact of the change in eating habits on the calorie count and better surroundings.

Things to do to reduce the carbon content in edibles

From the facts stated above, the carbon footprint of a regular non-vegetarian is more than double the amount of a vegetarian diet consumer.

  • Due to the lower carbon content, vegetarians live longer than non-vegetarians. Also, due to lower calorie content, vegetarians often stay slimmer and healthier. It further eliminates the risk of getting heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. It is beneficial to avoid red meats and chicken, and rather invest in lentils, non-processed eateries, different vegetables and whole grains.
  • Switching towards raw eatable items that are low in calories as well as save energy and electricity further decreases the food’s carbon content.
  • The use of organic farming techniques for animals and crops release a much lower impact on the atmosphere than the use of regular methods. Soil fertilization techniques, pest controls and all these activities should be organically certified. A vegetable that is cultivated in fertile soils is usually rich in nutrients and good fat. Even the cattle are free to roam the fields and eat some natural processed foods which further direct to healthy meatthat keeps your heart healthier.
  • A little creativity does not hurt anybody. Finding out diverse ways of reusing and recycling the plastic containers and glass jars create for amazing storage items. Many countries today are taking the initiative to ban plastic for food shopping. On a personal level, always prefer to carry your cloth or jute shopping bags. Take reusable produce bags for your fruit and veggies and always remember to recycle whichever way possible.

There is a major chunk of people switching to vegan diets nowadays. Let’s discuss in detail how vegan diets are gaining a lot of popularity for a reduction in carbon content. Vegan diets are considered extremely lighter than other conventional diets. According to various researches, an average vegan diet’s footprint of carbon contains around 60 per cent lesser carbon than the average diet heavy in meats. A vegan diet also consumes less water and has low calories. It uses far less water to produce plant protein than flesh. An eight OZ chicken breast takes over 542 litres of water to produce.  Enough to fill your bathtub 6.5 times!

It would be safe to say that a vegetarian diet does release low carbon content. It is because wastage of edibles can be up to 20% of food’s purchases and losses across the supply chain can be far greater than this. Food’s waste, in turn, increases the carbon footprint which counters the positive gains. And, perishable fresh fruit and vegetable are thrown away more often than fish or.

No proven fact prove that eating a vegan or a vegetarian diet will save the harmful effects caused to the environment. However, avoiding red meats and switching to naturally processed foods would certainly lead to a better situation.

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