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Sustainability analysis of the Mediterranean diet: results from the French NutriNet-Santé study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 June 2023

Julia Baudry*
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
Floriane Neves
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
Denis Lairon
Affiliation:
Aix Marseille Université, Inserm, INRAE, C2VN, Marseille, France
Benjamin Allès
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
Brigitte Langevin
Affiliation:
Solagro, Voie TOEC Toulouse, France
Joséphine Brunin
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
Florine Berthy
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
Ina Danquah
Affiliation:
Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Medical Faculty and University Hospital, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
Mathilde Touvier
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
Serge Hercberg
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France Département de Santé Publique, Hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny, France
Marie-Josèphe Amiot
Affiliation:
MoISA, Univ Montpellier, CIHEAM-IAMM, CIRAD, INRAE, Institut Agro, IRD, Montpellier, France
Philippe Pointereau
Affiliation:
Solagro, Voie TOEC Toulouse, France
Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot
Affiliation:
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord and Université Paris Cité, Inserm, INRAE, CNAM, Centre of Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS), Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), F-93017 Bobigny, France
*
*Corresponding author: Julia Baudry, email julia.baudry@inrae.fr

Abstract

The Mediterranean diet is often proposed as a sustainable diet model. This study aimed to evaluate the associations between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and sustainability domains in a cohort of French adults, using multiple criteria including nutritional quality, environmental pressures, monetary cost and dietary pesticide exposure. Food intakes of 29 210 NutriNet-Santé volunteers were assessed in 2014 using a semi-quantitative FFQ. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was evaluated using the validated literature-based adherence score (MEDI-LITE). The associations between the MEDI-LITE and various sustainability indicators were examined using ANCOVA models, adjusted for sex, age and energy intake. Higher adherence to the MEDI-LITE was associated with higher nutritional quality scores, better overall nutrient profile as well as reduced environmental impact (land occupation: Q5 v. Q1: −35 %, greenhouse gas emissions: −40 % and cumulative energy demand: −17 %). In turn, monetary cost increased with increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet (Q5 v. Q1: +15 %), while higher adherents to the Mediterranean diet had overall higher pesticide exposure due to their high plant-based food consumption. In this large cohort of French adults, greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with nutritional and environmental benefits, but also with higher monetary cost and greater exposure to pesticides, illustrating the necessity to develop large-scale strategies for healthy, safe (pesticide- and contaminant-free) and environmentally sustainable diets for all.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

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Footnotes

These authors contributed equally to this work

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The online version of this article has been updated since original publication. A notice detailing the change has been published at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114523001800.

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