Energy and nutrient density of foods in relation to their carbon footprint.

Auteur(s) :
Drewnowski A., Rehm CD., Martin A., Verger EO., Voinnesson M., Imbert P.
Date :
Jan, 2015
Source(s) :
The American journal of clinical nutrition. #101:1 p184-91
Adresse :
From the Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (AD and CDR); the Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN), Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Nutrition Department, Paris, France (AD and EOV); Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Research Unit S1166 (UMR S 1166), Nutriomics team, Paris, France (EOV); Nutrition Department, Danone Research, Palaiseau, France (AM and EOV); AgroParisTech and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Centre de Recherche en Nutrition Humaine (CRNH) de l'ile de France, Unité de Recherche 914 (UMR 914) Nutrition Physiology and Ingestive Behavior, Paris, France (EOV); and the Groupe Casino, Saint-Etienne Cedex 2, France (MV and PI).

Sommaire de l'article

A carbon footprint is the sum of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) associated with food production, processing, transporting, and retailing.

We examined the relation between the energy and nutrient content of foods and associated GHGEs as expressed as g CO2 equivalents.

GHGE values, which were calculated and provided by a French supermarket chain, were merged with the Composition Nutritionnelle des Aliments (French food-composition table) nutrient-composition data for 483 foods and beverages from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Foods were aggregated into 34 food categories and 5 major food groups as follows: meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, frozen and processed fruit and vegetables, grains, and sweets. Energy density was expressed as kcal/100 g. Nutrient density was determined by using 2 alternative nutrient-density scores, each based on the sum of the percentage of daily values for 6 or 15 nutrients, respectively. The energy and nutrient densities of foods were linked to log-transformed GHGE values expressed per 100 g or 100 kcal.

Grains and sweets had lowest GHGEs (per 100 g and 100 kcal) but had high energy density and a low nutrient content. The more-nutrient-dense animal products, including meat and dairy, had higher GHGE values per 100 g but much lower values per 100 kcal. In general, a higher nutrient density of foods was associated with higher GHGEs per 100 kcal, although the slopes of fitted lines varied for meat and dairy compared with fats and sweets.

Considerations of the environmental impact of foods need to be linked to concerns about nutrient density and health. The point at which the higher carbon footprint of some nutrient-dense foods is offset by their higher nutritional value is a priority area for additional research.

Source : Pubmed