Looking for a new reason to cut down on “junk” food? Besides the obvious health-related benefits, Michalis Hadjikakou showed in a recent study that discretionary or junk foods make up a significant proportion of food-related environmental impacts.
For an average Australian household, his research found that discretionary food contribute 33-39% of diet-related water use, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and land use.
Why is this a problem? In a warming world with a growing population and dwindling resources, we can no longer afford discretionary consumption that harms both our own and the planet’s health.
Although the topic of sustainable diets is becoming more popular, the debate and proposed policies have not sufficiently questioned the proliferation of junk food products that use scarce resources to produce empty calories.