Nutrition and Climate Change: What We Eat Impacts Our Planet

Are your clients asking you about nutrition and its impact on the environment? Or perhaps you find yourself reading and researching more about food systems and climate change? You’re not alone. More studies and reports are becoming available on the topic, and more healthcare professionals are paying attention to the severity of the situation.

Climate Change and Land, one such report released earlier this month by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded that we must eat more plant-based food and change the way we produce food in order to limit global warming. The report’s authors noted that better land management can contribute to tackling climate change, but that it is not the only solution: “Coordinated action to address climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger…climate change is affecting all four pillars of food security: availability (yield and production), access (prices and ability to obtain food), utilization (nutrition and cooking), and stability (disruptions to availability).”

Advising clients to follow a more plant-based diet and to reduce meat consumption to reduce greenhouse emissions is not new, yet it is a message that bears repeating – over and over. While following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle may not be for everyone, both dietary patterns are considered climate friendlier than your typical Western diet.

Environmental Health: Resources for Dietitians

There are countless resources to turn to if you wish to learn more about nutrition and environmental health, or if you wish to share more with your clients on the topic. We encourage you to proactively bring up the topic in your nutrition counseling sessions with clients when appropriate. Please visit the following to learn more and to take action!

  • Read our previous blog post on the planetary diet, consisting of half a plate of fruits, vegetables and nuts, while the other half is comprised of whole grains, plant proteins, unsaturated plant oils, modest amounts of meat and dairy, and some added sugars and starchy vegetables.

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