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Have you ever wondered what you can do to help the environment and slow climate change? What about eating certain foods because they are better for the environment? Producing the food you eat uses a lot of water and releases gases that warm the planet. If you ate foods that had a smaller impact on the environment, you could help fight climate change.

But it’s hard for most people to change their entire diet! So we wondered if replacing just one food could reduce a person’s impact on the environment. We collected diet data from a national survey in the USA. We figured out which foods produced the most carbon emissions. Then we created new potential diets where we substituted foods that had a smaller impact. We found that replacing beef products reduced carbon emissions and water use the most. That means not eating beef can lower the impact of your diet on the environment.

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About this article

Summary of research
Scientists investigated the impact of single-food substitutions on carbon emissions and water use.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
July 2022

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