A 2015 study conducted in Spain helped researchers come to the conclusion that the Mediterranean diet (rich in vegetables, olive oil, legumes, fruits and low in animal protein) is not only one of the healthiest diets in the world for the human body, but it also has a variety of benefits for the environment.
The diet is thus entitled because of its prominence throughout the Mediterranean region, in countries like Italy, Greece, Spain and more. According to researchers, this type of diet creates a significantly smaller carbon footprint than the typical diets of people who live in countries like the United Kingdom or the United States.
Five Spanish researchers (from the University of Huelva, Jaume I University of Castellon, and the University Hospital Complex of Huelva) teamed up to closely analyze the nutritional contents of meals that were being served at the Juan Ramon Jimenez Hospital located in Huelva, a town in southwest Spain. The researchers focused on the menus of 448 lunches and 448 dinners, all totaling 2,000 calories, over the course of four seasons.
The researchers then entered the estimated carbon footprint for each meal into a special database they created specifically for the study. Ultimately, the average daily carbon footprint was calculated to be approximately 5.08 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), much less than the United States average that falls somewhere between 8.5 kg and 8.8 kg, and less also than the United Kingdom average of 7.4 kg for meals with the exact same caloric intake.
Based on these findings, the scientists concluded that the diet a person chooses to follow can have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the overall state of the environment. Diets that prominently feature meat involve much higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
This falls in line with a 2006 study performed by the Food and Agriculture Organization, which found that the meat industry is one of the largest contributors to problems in the environment, and could be responsible for as much as 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, which is even more than transportation.
Just one more reason for you to consider making My Olive Tree Extra Virgin Olive Oil a part of your everyday diet. Not only is it healthy, but it’s environmentally friendly!
-  Journal Reference: Vidal, E. Moliner, A. Pikula, A. Mena-Nieto, A. Ortega. Comparison of the carbon footprint of different patient diets in a Spanish hospital. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 2014; 20 (1): 39 DOI:10.1177/1355819614553017