Veggie burgers deliver nutrients at ‘massive rise’ in emissions

The nutrient density contained in a veggie burger comes at the cost of “a massive increase in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, a leading physician has stated.

Speaking at the Nuffield Ireland Annual Conference in the Castleknock Hotel today, Friday, November 15, Prof. Alice Stanton who works with the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Devenish Nutrition explained that when GHG emissions are measured per 100g of food, then meat products are the worst offenders.

However, the physician stressed: “Once it’s converted to mean GHGs per 100 calories, actually, processed fruit and vegetables are the worst offenders.”

The professor explained to attendees at the conference that “the Nutrient Density Scale in foods accounts for 15 key nutrients that are essential for a healthy human life and it is plotted against the GHG emissions per 100 kilocalories”.

Plant-based foods don’t have as much GHG emissions but don’t have the nutrient density either whereas animal-sourced foods have more GHG emissions but it’s in proportion to their nutrient density.

“Some animal-sourced foods have the nutrient density and are not that bad in GHG emissions,” she outlined.

Referring to the EAT-Lancet Commission food report, Prof. Stanton said: “I am concerned about the nutrient deficiencies that will be caused by the paper.

She noted: “If people reduce red meat consumption, it will cause more iron deficiencies.”

She noted that the report suggests people eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day “on a worldwide scale”. She warned: “If we rely on this massive food intake transformation worldwide to solve our climate change issues, we’re going to have climate crisis.

We’re not going to be able to produce enough food to feed 10 billion people.

She acknowledged: “I agree with promoting a good healthy diet but we have to think of other solutions as well.”

Concluding, Prof. Stanton stressed: “We need to look at ways to increase the nutritional value of food and how we can reduce GHG emissions in doing so.”