A study by the University of Michigan and Tulane University has found that animal products are responsible for 83.5% of diet-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers looked at the environmental impact of over 300 foods, and the diets of 16,000 Americans.
The foods studied were allocated into categories, with the categories of fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains, and nuts and seeds accounted for less than three percent of diet-related emissions each.
The consumption of legumes was found to be the least detrimental to the environment, accounting for only 0.3% of greenhouse gas emissions.
They also found that 20% of Americans, those who eat the highest amount of animal products, are responsible for 46% of food related greenhouse gas emissions.
The study stated: “the distribution of diet-related GHG and energy demand intensity for self-selected diets in the US, showing that the fifth of the diets with the highest carbon footprint account for 46% of the total diet-related GHGE burden.”
“Behavior change campaigns focused on these diet types could be an efficient and effective means of reducing US GHGE.”