Showing results for: Meat, eggs and alternatives
Meat, eggs and new alternatives such as soy-meat, Quorn, or lab-grown meat are foods that are often rich in protein and essential micronutrients. However they may also be high in saturated fat and, when processed, in salt. Consumption of meat is very high in most high income countries and is on the rise in middle income countries. While an overly high consumption is associated with ill-health and disease, in countries where people’s diets are lacking in diversity and essential micronutrients – as is the case in many low income countries – animal products can play an important nutritional role. Meat products are also associated with very high GHG emissions; farmed animals contribute some 14.5% of human-made GHG emissions. Animal production also contributes to many other negative environmental impacts including deforestation and associated biodiversity loss, land degradation and soil and water pollution. The production of animals for slaughter and use also raises a complex set of ethical and welfare issues.
This paper reviews data from the UK Biobank study and finds that higher consumption of red meat and alcohol are associated with a higher risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer, while higher consumption of fibre from bread or breakfast cereals is associated with a lower risk.
The European parliament’s agriculture committee has approved a ban on using words such as ‘burger’, ‘sausage’, ‘steak’ or ‘escalope’ to name vegetarian food products. The proposal will not become law unless approved by the full parliament, which will not vote on the issue until after May 2019’s elections.
14% of Brits are “flexitarians”, i.e. they have a mixed diet that is mainly based on vegetarian foods but they occasionally eat meat, according to this white paper from the UK-based market research firm YouGov. Flexitarianism is more common among young women than other demographic groups and more common in inner London than other geographic regions.
This paper evaluates the impact of diet on risk factors for heart disease. It finds that replacing red meat with “high-quality” plant protein sources (such as legumes, soy or nuts), but not with fish or “low-quality” carbohydrates (such as refined grains and simple sugars), results in improvements in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
This paper traces mass, energy flows and emissions in the beef, poultry and pork supply chains in Germany (including all emissions from the animal production stages, and emissions from energy use at subsequent stages). It outlines the potential of different strategies to reduce consumption-based emissions. It finds that the greatest emissions reductions could come from dietary change, i.e. replacing some meat consumption with consumption of soybeans and nuts, or replacing some meat consumption with offal consumption.
FCRN member Alexandra Sexton describes the narratives and counter-narratives that have been used to talk about alternatives such as cultured meat and plant-based meat replacements.
In this paper, FCRN member Nicholas Bowles of the University of Melbourne reviews existing data on the environmental impacts of the livestock sector and considers these impacts in the context of planetary boundaries. The paper reports that efficiency alone is unlikely to be adequate to shrink livestock’s impacts to a sustainable level, and that dietary shifts will also be necessary.
This report from the UK think-tank Chatham House explores the challenges of scaling up production and consumption of realistic plant-based meat replacements and laboratory-grown meat, both of which are intended to be indistinguishable from meat.
This paper, by John Lynch of the University of Oxford’s LEAP project, finds that carbon footprint studies of beef cattle typically do not report separate values for emissions of different greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Instead, studies generally report only an aggregated figure in the form of the 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP100) as CO2-equivalent.
This article on the environmental impacts of different types of animal feed (including fishmeal, soy, fava beans, algae and various forage crops) features commentary from FCRN member Sam Smith, who has contributed to the Feed Compass work by Forum for the Future.
This life cycle assessment of beef cattle production in the United States calculates greenhouse gas emissions, fossil energy use, blue water consumption and reactive nitrogen loss per kg of carcass weight.