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Journal Articles Public Health Nutrition Year : 2021

Improving health and carbon footprints of European diets using a benchmarking approach

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Abstract

Abstract Objective: This study aimed to identify diets with improved nutrient quality and environmental impact within the boundaries of dietary practices. Design: We used Data Envelopment Analysis to benchmark diets for improved adherence to food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG). We then optimised these diets for dietary preferences, nutrient quality and environmental impact. Diets were evaluated using the Nutrient Rich Diet score (NRD15.3), diet-related greenhouse gas emission (GHGE) and a diet similarity index that quantified the proportion of food intake that remained similar as compared with the observed diet. Setting: National dietary surveys of four European countries (Denmark, Czech Republic, Italy and France). Subjects: Approximately 6500 adults, aged 18–64 years. Results: When dietary preferences were prioritised, NRD15·3 was ~6 % higher, GHGE was ~4 % lower and ~85 % of food intake remained similar. This diet had higher amounts of fruit, vegetables and whole grains than the observed diet. When nutrient quality was prioritised, NRD15·3 was ~16 % higher, GHGE was ~3 % lower and ~72 % of food intake remained similar. This diet had higher amounts of legumes and fish and lower amounts of sweetened and alcoholic beverages. Finally, when environmental impact was prioritised, NRD15·3 was ~9 % higher, GHGE was ~21 % lower and ~73 % of food intake remained similar. In this diet, red and processed meat partly shifted to either eggs, poultry, fish or dairy. Conclusions: Benchmark modelling can generate diets with improved adherence to FBDG within the boundaries of dietary practices, but fully maximising health and minimising GHGE cannot be achieved simultaneously.
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anses-03426459 , version 1 (12-11-2021)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - CC BY 4.0

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Elly Mertens, Anneleen Kuijsten, Argyris Kanellopoulos, Marcela Dofková, Lorenza Mistura, et al.. Improving health and carbon footprints of European diets using a benchmarking approach. Public Health Nutrition, 2021, 24 (3), pp.565-575. ⟨10.1017/S1368980020003341⟩. ⟨anses-03426459⟩

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