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      The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review

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          Abstract

          Food production is a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water and land use, and dietary risk factors are contributors to non-communicable diseases. Shifts in dietary patterns can therefore potentially provide benefits for both the environment and health. However, there is uncertainty about the magnitude of these impacts, and the dietary changes necessary to achieve them. We systematically review the evidence on changes in GHG emissions, land use, and water use, from shifting current dietary intakes to environmentally sustainable dietary patterns. We find 14 common sustainable dietary patterns across reviewed studies, with reductions as high as 70–80% of GHG emissions and land use, and 50% of water use (with medians of about 20–30% for these indicators across all studies) possible by adopting sustainable dietary patterns. Reductions in environmental footprints were generally proportional to the magnitude of animal-based food restriction. Dietary shifts also yielded modest benefits in all-cause mortality risk. Our review reveals that environmental and health benefits are possible by shifting current Western diets to a variety of more sustainable dietary patterns.

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          A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010

          The Lancet, 380(9859), 2224-2260
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            Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change.

            What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the environment we all share. Recent analyses have highlighted the likely dual health and environmental benefits of reducing the fraction of animal-sourced foods in our diets. Here, we couple for the first time, to our knowledge, a region-specific global health model based on dietary and weight-related risk factors with emissions accounting and economic valuation modules to quantify the linked health and environmental consequences of dietary changes. We find that the impacts of dietary changes toward less meat and more plant-based diets vary greatly among regions. The largest absolute environmental and health benefits result from diet shifts in developing countries whereas Western high-income and middle-income countries gain most in per capita terms. Transitioning toward more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines could reduce global mortality by 6-10% and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29-70% compared with a reference scenario in 2050. We find that the monetized value of the improvements in health would be comparable with, or exceed, the value of the environmental benefits although the exact valuation method used considerably affects the estimated amounts. Overall, we estimate the economic benefits of improving diets to be 1-31 trillion US dollars, which is equivalent to 0.4-13% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2050. However, significant changes in the global food system would be necessary for regional diets to match the dietary patterns studied here.
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              Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions from global livestock systems.

              We present a unique, biologically consistent, spatially disaggregated global livestock dataset containing information on biomass use, production, feed efficiency, excretion, and greenhouse gas emissions for 28 regions, 8 livestock production systems, 4 animal species (cattle, small ruminants, pigs, and poultry), and 3 livestock products (milk, meat, and eggs). The dataset contains over 50 new global maps containing high-resolution information for understanding the multiple roles (biophysical, economic, social) that livestock can play in different parts of the world. The dataset highlights: (i) feed efficiency as a key driver of productivity, resource use, and greenhouse gas emission intensities, with vast differences between production systems and animal products; (ii) the importance of grasslands as a global resource, supplying almost 50% of biomass for animals while continuing to be at the epicentre of land conversion processes; and (iii) the importance of mixed crop–livestock systems, producing the greater part of animal production (over 60%) in both the developed and the developing world. These data provide critical information for developing targeted, sustainable solutions for the livestock sector and its widely ranging contribution to the global food system.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                3 November 2016
                2016
                : 11
                : 11
                : e0165797
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Dept. of Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
                [2 ]Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture & Health, London, United Kingdom
                [3 ]Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
                [4 ]Dept. of Social & Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
                Indiana University Bloomington, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                • Conceptualization: LA RG AH.

                • Formal analysis: LA.

                • Investigation: LA EJ.

                • Methodology: LA RG AH.

                • Supervision: RG AH.

                • Visualization: LA.

                • Writing – original draft: LA.

                • Writing – review & editing: LA RG AH EJ PS.

                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3644-1372
                Article
                PONE-D-16-12121
                10.1371/journal.pone.0165797
                5094759
                27812156
                62b97291-db3b-4059-b65c-8f742c4b8a6d
                © 2016 Aleksandrowicz et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 23 March 2016
                : 18 October 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, Pages: 16
                Funding
                Funded by: Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100004440, Wellcome Trust;
                Award ID: 103932
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100004440, Wellcome Trust;
                Award ID: 103932
                Award Recipient :
                This work was supported by Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health to LA ( http://lcirah.ac.uk/). Wellcome Trust Our Planet, Our Health, Grant 103932 to RG and EJ ( http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Strategic-funding/Our-planet-our-health/index.htm). This study is part of the Sustainable and Healthy Diets in India (SAHDI) project. The funders of this study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Agriculture
                Animal Products
                Meat
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Food
                Meat
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Food
                Meat
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Food
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Food
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Environmental Impacts
                Earth Sciences
                Geography
                Human Geography
                Land Use
                Social Sciences
                Human Geography
                Land Use
                People and Places
                Demography
                Death Rates
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Population Biology
                Population Metrics
                Death Rates
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Public and Occupational Health
                Global Health
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Health Care
                Environmental Health
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Public and Occupational Health
                Environmental Health
                Custom metadata
                All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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