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Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption and Nutrition

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 22785

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Independent Researcher, Via Venezuela 66, 98121 Messina, Italy
Interests: vegetarian diet; vegan diet; plant-based diet; soy; soy foods; phytoestrogens; isoflavones; vitamin B12; cobalamins; homocysteine; B vitamins; polyunsaturated fatty acids; vitamin D; dietary supplements; oxidative stress; antioxidants
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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
Centre for Complementary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine II, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
Interests: whole-food plant-based diets; nutritional and metabolic diseases; nutritional medicine; human nutrition; diabetes; metabolic diseases; vegan diet; nutrition; low-fat nutrition therapy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food consumption is amongst the main drivers of environmental impacts. The challenge for nutrition science is to understand and develop strategies enabling a balance between healthy diets and sustainable food systems. Selection of food type, as well as the quantity and frequency of consumption, play a critical role in environmental sustainability. Food choices have substantial public health consequences and are of paramount importance to food security and sustainability. The challenge of convincing people to change their eating habits toward more environmentally sustainable food consumption patterns is becoming increasingly important. Household food consumption accounts for more than 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions and up to 80% of total resource usage.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focuses on the current state of knowledge of the research and implementation needed to achieve more sustainable food systems on a global scale.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Environmental impacts of consumption patterns, diets, and nutrition.
  2. Methodology, data, and tools for the analysis of nutrition and food consumption.
  3. Environmental impacts of food losses.
  4. Water footprint assessment. 

Dr. Gianluca Rizzo
Dr. Mauro Lombardo
Dr. Maximilian Andreas Storz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food consumption
  • greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • environmental impacts
  • environmental sustainability
  • choice
  • food
  • eating
  • food waste
  • food sustainability

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 5231 KiB  
Article
Environmental Impact of Two Plant-Based, Isocaloric and Isoproteic Diets: The Vegan Diet vs. the Mediterranean Diet
by Denise Filippin, Anna Rita Sarni, Gianluca Rizzo and Luciana Baroni
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(5), 3797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20053797 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 13993
Abstract
Food consumption is one of the major causes of climate change, resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, and other kinds of environmental impact by modern households. According to evidence, a global change in dietary habits could be the single most effective and rapid intervention [...] Read more.
Food consumption is one of the major causes of climate change, resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, and other kinds of environmental impact by modern households. According to evidence, a global change in dietary habits could be the single most effective and rapid intervention to reduce anthropic pressure on the planet, especially with respect to climate change. Our study applied Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to investigate the total environmental impact of two plant-based diets: the Mediterranean and the Vegan diets, according to relevant Italian nutritional recommendations. The two diets share the same macronutrient rates and cover all the nutritional recommendations. Calculations were made on the basis of a theoretical one-week 2000 kcal/day diet. According to our calculations, the Vegan diet showed about 44% less total environmental impact when compared to the Mediterranean diet, despite the fact that the content of animal products of the latter was low (with 10.6% of the total diet calories). This result clearly supports the concept that meat and dairy consumption plays a critical role, above all, in terms of damage to human health and ecosystems. Our study supports the thesis that even a minimal-to-moderate content of animal foods has a consistent impact on the environmental footprint of a diet, and their reduction can elicit significant ecological benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption and Nutrition)
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17 pages, 642 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Framing Plant-Based Products in Terms of Their Health vs. Environmental Benefits: Interactions with Individual Wellbeing
by Amy Isham, Judith Geusen and Birgitta Gatersleben
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 11948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191911948 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5236
Abstract
Significant reductions in the consumption of meat and dairy products are required to limit environmental damage and meet climate targets. However, individuals choosing to adopt plant-based diets still form a minority. Whilst different types of message framings have been suggested to be a [...] Read more.
Significant reductions in the consumption of meat and dairy products are required to limit environmental damage and meet climate targets. However, individuals choosing to adopt plant-based diets still form a minority. Whilst different types of message framings have been suggested to be a potential means of encouraging the uptake of plant-based diets, recent findings have often failed to document any differences in people’s willingness to reduce their consumption of animal products based on whether messages emphasize the health or environmental benefits of plant-based diets. This research examined whether individual wellbeing might interact with health versus environmental message frames to determine people’s liking and willingness to pay for plant-based products. Across two experiments with a university (Study 1) and a non-student, adult sample (Study 2), participants were exposed to different hypothetical labels for plant-based foods and asked to rate their liking and willingness to pay for each. In line with existing findings, results demonstrated a trend whereby showing health (versus environmental) information on food labels did not in itself influence participants perceptions of the food products. Higher levels of positive wellbeing were associated with greater liking and willingness to pay for the plant-based foods (B values ranging from 0.04 to 0.45). Further, there was an interaction effect whereby levels of negative affect were differentially linked to liking and willingness to pay across the health and environmental framing conditions (B values ranging from 0.03 to 0.38). In particular, negative affect appears to have a greater negative impact on the product liking and willingness to pay when environmental label framings are used. This effect was most pronounced for the product liking dependent variable (B = −0.29 in the environmental framing condition). This research therefore extends understandings of the more specific instances in which message framings can impact perceptions of plant-based foods. The implications of the findings for understanding how best to promote uptake of plant-based diets are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption and Nutrition)
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12 pages, 2841 KiB  
Article
Savings and Losses of Scarce Virtual Water in the International Trade of Wheat, Maize, and Rice
by Hanfei Wu, Ruochen Jin, Ao Liu, Shiyun Jiang and Li Chai
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 4119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074119 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2516
Abstract
The international cereal trade can mitigate global water stress by saving virtual scarce water (VSW). Based on bilateral trade data, this study assessed VSW savings and losses in the international trade of three major cereals (i.e., wheat, maize, and rice) from 2008 to [...] Read more.
The international cereal trade can mitigate global water stress by saving virtual scarce water (VSW). Based on bilateral trade data, this study assessed VSW savings and losses in the international trade of three major cereals (i.e., wheat, maize, and rice) from 2008 to 2017 by incorporating the water stress index (WSI) into a virtual water assessment. We found that the trade in wheat and maize saved a significant amount of VSW, while the rice trade led to increasingly severe losses of VSW. This study identified the top trades of VSW savings and losses for each cereal. Wheat and maize were primarily exported from the countries that are relatively abundant in water resources (e.g., United States, Brazil, Argentina, Russia) to water-scarce countries (e.g., Mexico and Egypt), whereas rice was exported mainly from India and Pakistan, two of the most water-stressed countries. We suggest that policy makers consider VSW savings and losses when making cereal trading decisions to alleviate global water stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impacts of Food Consumption and Nutrition)
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