Eating healthy food is almost always also best for the environment, according to the most sophisticated analysis to date. The researchers said poor diets threaten society by seriously harming people and the planet, but the latest research can inform better choices.
The analysis assessed the health and environmental impacts of 15 foods common in western diets and found fruit, vegetables, beans and wholegrains were best for both avoiding disease and protecting the climate and water resources. Conversely, eating more red and processed meat causes the most ill health and pollution.
There were a small number of foods that bucked the trend. Fish is generally a healthy choice but has a bigger environmental footprint on average than plant-based diets. High-sugar foods, such as biscuits and fizzy drinks, have a low impact on the planet but are bad for health.