Food Sustainability

How much are you really eating?

Meat Based Diets and Plant Based Diets

  • In a meat based diet, meat comprises the bulk of the ingested food, and the majority of people in the US follow this diet. Also called an omnivorous diet, it costs more than it's alternative.
  • In a plant based diet, organic plant material is used to meet nutritional needs. The most common form of plant based diet is called Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. This diet requires more food to meet the RDAs, however.

The Facts

Resource Usage

The US uses massive amounts of food and land resource. The production complex uses up:

  • 50% of the total land area
  • 80% of the fresh water
  • 17% of the fossil fuel energy
Although both diets subsist on different items, the facilities and processes involved use nonrenewable fuel, such as fossil fuel energy.

What are you eating?

In store bought beef, the following can be found inside cows due to feeding habits and living conditions

  • Hormones
  • Antibacterial Drugs
  • Antioxidants
Other things like steroids have been found in chickens and other livestock

The Damage

Emissions from certain products is more than others. Red meat is the least efficient in CO2e, creating about 11 grams of it per calorie. The second least efficient is fish.

The Verdict

The plant-based diet, while ironically requiring more food intake, is easily the more sustainable food option. Production of needed items is more efficient, and easiest on the environment due to the comparatively eco-friendly nature of those products. The plant-based diet stays closer to Recommended Daily Allowances, promotes health and deters heart problems, and is the choice if you're being conscious of your health AND your environment.