The eatwell guide: A more sustainable diet

Understanding the environmental impact of Public Health England's updated Eatwell Guide nutritional guidance

Publication date: March 2016


This report sets out to answer a request from Public Health England (PHE) to help them better understand the environmental impacts of the Eatwell Guide nutritional guidance when compared with the current UK diet.

We collated data providing the impact of 93% - 97% of the foods (by weight), considering greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land requirement. Comparisons were simplified by an innovative method for representing sustainable environmental resource use in terms of guideline daily amounts (GDA). This simplified analysis, highlights what is important and is comparable to how nutritional content is defined with dietary reference values.

According to the Carbon Trust analysis, the Eatwell Guide shows an appreciably lower environmental impact than the current UK diet.  We also note that parallel improvements in production efficiency and waste reduction will help too.  

A number of differences contribute to the reduction, such as increasing potatoes, fish, wholemeal & white bread, vegetables and fruit whilst reducing amounts of dairy, meat, rice, pasta, pizza and sweet foods.

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