Not everyone aware sustainable diets are about helping the planet — ScienceDaily


A new study finds that young Britons are willing to change to a more sustainable diet, but a lack of understanding of what that means in practice is leading many to I can’t do that.

Many people are also unsure of what changes to make.

A sustainable diet is defined by the United Nations as “a diet that has a low environmental impact and contributes to food and nutritional security and healthy living for present and future generations”.

Previous research suggests that 20-30% of our environmental impact in Europe and the UK comes from our diet, including impacts from food production, processing and retail. It is also widely accepted that the consumption of meat and animal products usually has a greater environmental impact than plant-based foods.

“When people think about how to live more sustainably, they seem to understand that it means flying less, using less cars, recycling more, but changing their diet. Not everyone seems to realize the difference it can make, explains Katherine Appleton, a professor of psychology at Bournemouth University who led the study.

For this new study, Bournemouth University researchers interviewed 21 mostly young adults responsible for a variety of different dishes in different households.

They were asked a variety of questions about their understanding of sustainable diets and their willingness to make changes.

Findings published in the journal appetitefound that many participants either did not know what a sustainable diet was, or were very unsure and did not consider the environment or the planet at all.

Participants were less clear about what would make their food choices more environmentally sustainable. We did, but there was considerable uncertainty as to what changes should be made.

I was particularly interested in making small, easy changes. For example, be prepared to pay a little more for eating less meat, but not cutting it out completely, but not by much.

The research team aims to raise public awareness of what constitutes a sustainable diet and how people’s food choices affect the environment and global food security. I suggest that a lot of work needs to be done.

“We were surprised by the findings. Initially, we were going to look at ways to encourage people to eat more foods such as beans and legumes, but people still don’t quite understand why this matters.” “We’ve found that it’s not, and increasing consumption of certain foods is way too far for many people,” explained Professor Appleton.

“We need to promote greater awareness and knowledge of how dietary changes can help the planet. We must also provide the changes that have been made,” she added.

Focusing on possible impacts and personal benefits, the researchers suggest there is value in increasing public availability and accessibility to sustainable diets, but consumer preferences and Researchers conclude that it is also necessary to consider capacity.

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Materials provided Bournemouth University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.



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