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Diet-related greenhouse gases down 35% in US

Words by Smiley Team

Greenhouse gases come from a handful of different sources like cars, production, and power. But one often forgotten greenhouse producer comes from agriculture – and more specifically, animals like cows and pigs.

Livestock production accounts for about 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily with methane and nitrous oxide. But in the US, there’s been a gradual shift away from these. 

Diets in the United States has seen a steady change over the last 15 years, something that’s led to a decrease in greenhouse gases. The primary cause of diet-related greenhouse gases was cattle, and the US diet has been gradually shifting away from beef. 

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Data from a national dietary survey of US adults has suggested that over a 15-year period from 2003 to 2018, US adults consume about 40% less beef than they did previously. There was also a slow move away from other animal products like milk, eggs, and other meats, while adults maintained a relatively consistent caloric intake suggesting a move to plant-based replacements. 

Companies like Impossible Foods represent a growing trend in diets to move away from meats, with fast-food chains like Burger King and KFC even offering plant-based alternatives. 

“From a nutritional standpoint, our products match the protein quality and content of the animal products that they replace,” Impossible Foods founder and CEO Patrick Brown told CNBC in a 2020 interview. “Ours is a clear winner from a health and nutrition standpoint.”

The survey itself highlights that US meat consumption is not sustainable for a net-zero future.

“(Greenhouse Gas) trends in the US diet are both exceeding planetary boundaries and capable of substantial impact reduction through changes in dietary patterns,” the survey read.

Inspired to act?

HELP SOLVE HUNGER: Check out A Well-Fed World. They offer solutions to world hunger with plant-based options.  

GET INVOLVED: Find out about the nonprofit's Plants4Hunger initiative

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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