Vegetarian Diets Bad for the Environment, Lettuce 3x Worse Than Bacon

If you’re not a vegetarian chances are you’ve been talked down by a vegetarian at some point. Vegetarians love to espouse how wonderful, healthy, and environmentally conscious they are. But it turns out, us meat eaters may not be as harmful to the environment as our soybean loving brethren would have us believe. In fact, a new study suggest that vegetarian diets may be more harmful to environment.

The Independent reports:

Lettuce is “over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon”, according to researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University who analysed the impact per calorie of different foods in terms of energy cost, water use and emissions.

Published in the Environment Systems and Decisions journal, the study goes against the grain of recent calls for humans to quit eating meat to curb climate change.

Researchers did not argue against the idea people should be eating less meat, or the fact that livestock contributes to an enormous proportion of global emissions – up to 51 per cent according to some studies.

But they found that eating only the recommended “healthier” foods prescribed in recent advice from the US Department of Agriculture increased a person’s impact on the environment across all three factors – even when overall calorie intake was reduced.

The experts examined how growing, processing and transporting food; sales and service; and household storage and use all take a toll on the environment for different foods.

Paul Fischbeck, study co-author and CMU’s professor of social and decisions sciences, said: “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think.

“Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

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