A plant-based diet is more sustainable than animal foods, and this connection also applies when processing food. In addition, processed plant products meet most Swedish dietary recommendations, a new study shows.
-The best thing you can do for the planet, your health, and your wallet is to switch to a primarily plant-based diet. If you think it's easier to switch to processed foods that look like meat, fish or dairy, that's okay, says Anne-Charlotte Pong, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Center at Stockholm University.
Although there are processed plant products that resemble animal foods, most scientific comparisons between vegan diets and other eating habits have been based on vegan diets of unprocessed foods.
– Unprocessed foods are generally considered slightly better in terms of sustainability, but the greatest reduction in a food's environmental footprint is achieved by reducing the consumption of animal foods, says Anne-Charlotte Pong.
The researchers also found that processed plant foods meet Swedish dietary recommendations
– In Sweden, it is necessary to enrich some foods with micronutrients such as vitamin D and calcium. For this reason, Swedish manufactured plant-based alternatives often have nutritional content on par with the animal food they intend to replace. For example, oatmeal contains a similar level of calcium to regular milk, as Anne-Charlotte Bong explains in one article press release.
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