What is the climate footprint of therapeutic diets for people with chronic kidney disease? Results from an Australian analysis
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Background: Immediate action is needed to stabilise the climate. Dietitians require knowledge of how the therapeutic diets they prescribe may contribute to climate change. No previous research has quantified the climate footprint of therapeutic diets. This study sought to quantify and compare the climate footprint of two types of therapeutic diets for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) with two reference diets. Methods: A usual diet for an individual with CKD and a novel plant-based diet for CKD were compared with the current Australian diet and the Australian-adapted EAT Lancet Planetary Health Diet (PHD). The climate footprint of these diets was measured using the Global Warming Potential (GWP*) metric for a reference 71-year-old male. Results: No diets analysed were climate neutral, and therefore, all contribute to climate change. The novel plant-based diet for CKD (1.20 kg carbon dioxide equivalents [CO2e] per day) produced 35% less CO2e than the usual renal diet for an individual with CKD (1.83 kg CO2e per day) and 50% less than the current Australian diet (2.38 kg CO2e per day). The Australian-adapted EAT Lancet PHD (1.04 kg CO2e per day) produced the least amount of CO2e and 56% less than the current Australian diet. The largest contributors to the climate footprint of all four diets were foods from the meats and alternatives, dairy and alternatives and discretionary food groups. Conclusions: Dietetic advice to reduce the climate footprint of therapeutic diets for CKD should focus on discretionary foods and some animal-based products. Future research is needed on other therapeutic diets.
Open Access Status
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University of Wollongong