Ursula Arens is a Member of the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) expert group on environmentally sustainable diets.

The effect our food choices are having on the environment – and what we can do about it – is clearly a topic that matters to people. The British Dietetic Association’s One Blue Dot project outlines a nine-point plan to implement environmentally sustainable diets1. These nine points are listed below and notably, many of these are also in line with WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations, as shown:

World Cancer Research Fund graphic of healthy and sustainable diets

Food production contributes 15–30 per cent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK and therefore contributes significantly to climate change.

Red meat concern

Red and processed meats have the single biggest environmental impact of any type of food, with beef and dairy cattle in particular contributing significantly to the environmental burden. Livestock farming accounts for 10 per cent of the UK’s total GHG emissions; despite this, more than 50 per cent of us eat meat on a daily basis and 80 per cent of us eat dairy on a daily basis2.

With the aim of reducing rates of non-communicable diseases, many organisations (including WCRF) advise limiting red and processed meat intake and shifting towards a more plant-based diet as part of their dietary recommendations.

So as well as reducing cancer risk, some of the Cancer Prevention Recommendations could help keep the planet healthy too.

Find out more about the Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

References

1British Dietetic Association. One Blue Dot – the BDA’s Environmentally Sustainable Diet Project. 2020.

2British Dietetic Association. Eating patterns for health and environmental sustainability. 2020.