The amount of hype around the ketogenic diet is proportional to its numerous health benefits. Unlike the average diet, the high-fat, low-carb based keto diet has been winning a steady number of followers with each passing day, as it has been scientifically proven to make your body more efficient.
It can help your body burn fat faster and leaves you feeling full for longer, thereby making weight-loss easier for you. Over a period of time, it can also boost your mental health and vital organ functioning. However, in recent times, the ketogenic diet has started to face a lot of flak for being non-environment friendly as it’s largely a meat-based diet.
This shouldn’t deter you from adopting a keto diet for the sake of good health. Here are 5 simple strategies you can follow to prevent your ketogenic diet from taking a toll on the environment.
1. Choose Environment-Friendly Dairy
Greenhouse gases emitted from dairy farms constitute 4% of the total manmade emissions worldwide. These include emissions associated with production, processing, and transportation of milk. As you would need a lot of dairy in the form of milk, cheese, and yogurt while you are on a ketogenic diet, it’s best to choose them with some consideration to the environment.
Look for dairy products that are sourced from eco-friendly farms that follow sustainable dairy farming practices. Dairy products should also be free from antibiotics and bear the label that says “USDA certified organic”.1
2. Replace Red Meat With Alternatives
Animal protein sources like red meat is a staple for many on the ketogenic diet. Unfortunately even the most ethically raised beef would still have a negative impact on the environment. A more eco-friendly move would be to limit your intake of red meat to not more than twice a week. You can also use substitutes like legumes, poultry, and seafood instead to meet your protein requirements instead.2
3. Purchase Local And Seasonal Produce
If your diet is based on foods that travel miles to reach you, you are inadvertently increasing the carbon footprint. Make a conscious effort to buy meat, dairy, fruits, veggies, nuts, or just about anything you eat in your keto diet from local farmers. Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables as they are less likely to be imported. This practice can help you to prevent the unnecessary usage of precious fossil fuels that are involved in the transportation of food.
4. Have Unprocessed Foods
Consumption of packaged and processed foods itself is an absolutely non-environment friendly practice. Processed foods are manufactured with a lot of energy expenditure that is associated with large amounts of environmental pollution. These foods also contain several toxic chemicals and are wrapped in non-biodegradable materials like plastic which take thousands of years to break down.
Grocery stores are filled with hordes of processed foods that are not only unhealthy for you but also for the environment. Therefore, choose whole foods that are locally grown with no additives that could be harmful to the environment.3
5. Reduce Food Wastage
Food wastage is a cruel reality of this consumerist era. It not only denies millions the access to a healthy life but also destroys the environment by contributing to global warming and pollution. Food waste that ends up in landfill generates huge amounts of greenhouse gases like methane which leads to heating up of the earth’s atmosphere.
When food gets wasted, water used to cultivate and process it also gets wasted. In the USA alone, 40% of food gets thrown away! The ideal thing you can do as a consumer is to make sure that your diet is based on “needs versus wants”. Rather than piling up food, buy what you are sure you would eat. Be a minimalist, practice portion control and figure out new ways to make sure that leftovers generated from your meal plan are almost zero.4
Ultimately, observing environment-friendly practices in one’s diet is everyone’s responsibility and not something exclusive for those on ketogenic diets. All forms of diets are associated with some amount of negative environmental impact. However, you can do your bit by making eco-friendly choices each day. In this manner, your pursuit of good health will not end up being destructive to the environment as a whole!5
|↑1||Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Intensity in the Dairy Sector. University Of Wisconsin-Extension|
|↑2||Biesbroek, Sander, H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Petra HM Peeters, WM Monique Verschuren, Yvonne T. van der Schouw, Gerard FH Kramer, Marcelo Tyszler, and Elisabeth HM Temme. “Reducing our environmental footprint and improving our health: greenhouse gas emission and land use of usual diet and mortality in EPIC-NL: a prospective cohort study.” Environmental Health 13, no. 1 (2014): 27.|
|↑3||Limit Processed Foods: They Hurt the Environment Along with Your Body. BASTYR UNIVERSITY|
|↑4||Gunders, Dana. “Wasted: How America is losing up to 40 percent of its food from farm to fork to landfill.” Natural Resources Defense Council (2012): 1-26.|
|↑5||Krilanovich, Nicholas J. “Benefits of ketogenic diets.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85, no. 1 (2007): 238-239.|