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The climate impact of excess food intake - An avoidable environmental burden

Sundin, Niina and Rosell, Magdalena and Eriksson, Mattias and Jensen, Carl and Bianchi, Marta (2021). The climate impact of excess food intake - An avoidable environmental burden. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 174 , 105777
[Research article]

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Abstract

The environmental impacts of food systems and the health consequences of excess food intake are well-acknowledged global issues. However, the climate impact of excess food intake, or metabolic food waste, has received less attention. This study estimated the amount of metabolic food waste and its climate impact in Sweden. Excess food intake was estimated based on the adult overweight and obesity prevalence in Sweden, by applying two alternative calculation methods, one based on the energy content of excess body fat, and the other based on the excess energy intake due to excess body fat. These caloric values were translated to food consumption patterns according to three dietary scenarios and their climate impact estimated based on carbon footprint data. The results showed that the annual amount of metabolic food waste represented 480–710 kt of food in Sweden and, regardless of dietary scenario, exceeded the annual amount of avoidable household food waste. The estimated greenhouse gas emissions from the metabolic food waste amounted up to 1.2 Mt CO2e annually, accounting for approximately 2% of the total and 10% of the food-related climate impact in Sweden. This study confirms the magnitude of the hidden climate cost of excess food intake on a national level and emphasizes the importance of taking this aspect into consideration in actions to improve both planetary and human health. Although applied to the Swedish context, the methodology used in the present study could also be used to assess the environmental impact of excess food intake in other countries globally.

Authors/Creators:Sundin, Niina and Rosell, Magdalena and Eriksson, Mattias and Jensen, Carl and Bianchi, Marta
Title:The climate impact of excess food intake - An avoidable environmental burden
Series Name/Journal:Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:174
Article number:105777
Number of Pages:10
ISSN:0921-3449
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
Keywords:metabolic food waste, excess food intake, obesity, climate impact, carbon footprint, sustainable food systems
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112800
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112800
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105777
ID Code:24864
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:15 Jul 2021 23:25
Metadata Last Modified:16 Jul 2021 05:01

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