Alessandra C. Grasso , 1 , Margreet R. Olthof 1 , Corné van Dooren 2 , Miquel Roca 3 , Margalida Gili 3 , Marjolein Visser 1 , Mieke Cabout 1 , Mariska Bot 4 , Brenda W. J. H. Penninx 4 , Gerard van Grootheest 4 , Elisabeth Kohls 5 , Ulrich Hegerl 6 , Matthew Owens 7 , Ed Watkins 7 , Ingeborg A. Brouwer 1 , the MooDFOOD Prevention Trial Investigators
23 October 2019
Food-based dietary guidelines are proposed to not only improve diet quality, but to also reduce the environmental impact of diets. The aim of our study was to investigate whether food-related behavioral activation therapy (F-BA) applying Mediterranean-style dietary guidelines altered food intake and the environmental impact of the diet in overweight adults with subsyndromal symptoms of depression.
In total 744 adults who either received the F-BA intervention (F-BA group) or no intervention (control group) for 12 months were included in this analysis. Food intake data were collected through a food frequency questionnaire at baseline and after 6 and 12 months. Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE), land use (LU), and fossil energy use (FEU) estimates from life-cycle assessments and a weighted score of the three ( pReCiPe score) were used to estimate the environmental impact of each individual diet at each timepoint.
The F-BA group reported increased intakes of vegetables (19.7 g/day; 95% CI 7.8–31.6), fruit (23.0 g/day; 9.4–36.6), fish (7.6 g/day; 4.6–10.6), pulses/legumes (4.0 g/day; 1.6–6.5) and whole grains (12.7 g/day; 8.0–17.5), and decreased intake of sweets/extras (− 6.8 g/day; − 10.9 to − 2.8) relative to control group. This effect on food intake resulted in no change in GHGE, LU, and pReCiPe score, but a relative increase in FEU by 1.6 MJ/day (0.8, 2.4).
A shift towards a healthier Mediterranean-style diet does not necessarily result in a diet with reduced environmental impact in a real-life setting.