On second thought, maybe vegetarian diets aren't better for the environment

As that report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee put it: “Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods …is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet.”

This notion isn’t, however, something that scientists have agreed on, and some new research undermines the longstanding idea.

A paper from Carnegie-Mellon University researchers published this week finds that the diets recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which include more fruits and vegetables and less meat, exacts a greater environmental toll than the typical American diet. Shifting to the diets recommended by Dietary Guidelines for American would increase energy use by 38 percent, water use by ten percent and greenhouse gas emissions by six percent, according to the paper.

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