Dietary factors not only affect our health, but can also contribute to a healthy environment. According to the 2018 International Food Information Council Foundation (IFICF), 59% of surveyed consumers reported that they were interested in consuming foods that were produced by “conserving an ecological balance to avoid depletion of natural resources” (or sustainability), and that figure was up from 50% just a year ago.
It is an accepted premise that a plant-based diet will sustain both human and environmental health in a more positive way than a diet that contains more animal foods. Food production can affect the environment in a variety of ways with the most emphasis on energy, land and water use as well as influencing climate change.
Another factor is that eating highly processed foods require a higher energy input due to the process itself along with packaging and transportation needs. Eating minimally processed whole foods is the better choice. Also livestock requires greater crop production and the animals emit a great deal of greenhouse gases. More crops for animal feed require the use of more fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. Antibiotics for animal health along with greater use of chemicals will ultimately all affect human health.