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In a study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers determined that adults whose diets consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables made a more positive environmental impact than their meat-eating counterparts, particularly because of the reduction in ozone-depleting greenhouse gas emissions associated with a vegetarian diet. Scientists analyzed data on food intake and organic food consumption from more than 34,000 French adults to investigate the effect of dietary choices on the environment. The study authors also concluded that those consuming a high plant-based diet further benefitted the environment when their fruit and vegetable choices were organic (likely because there are no synthetic fertilizers used in organic farming and because high consumers of organic foods are more likely to consume less meat and more plant-based foods overall). However, diets high in animal products – even when organically sourced – did not add significant environmental benefits.
MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU: Do your part by making a commitment to go meatless more often and buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible. To find out which produce is best to buy organic, visit ewg.org to see “The Dirty Dozen” list of the most pesticide-laden produce.