Researchers have found that most foods that promote good health, also tend to be better for the environment. And the reverse also holds true. If the food is bad for you, it’s probably also bad for the planet. Red meat, for example, both increases your risk of death and its production and processing is terrible for the environment.
In a vast new analysis published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tilman and his co-authors looked at the health and environmental impacts of 15 different food groups, including nuts, fruits, vegetables, red meat, dairy, eggs, fish, olive oil, legumes and sugar-sweetened beverages.
The foods were ranked relative to one another based on how they influence the risk of disease and the toll they take on the planet in terms of water and land use, greenhouse gas emissions and how they impact pollution of water and soil.
Most of the time, the researchers found that foods that promote good health also tended to be better for the planet — and vice versa.