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Food consumption is important for population as well as planetary health. Globally, fresh water is a scarce resource. For both fresh water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a risk of exceeding the planetary boundaries exists. Food production accounts for approximately 90% of the global water footprint and for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In this study, the Dutch food consumption patterns are evaluated for blue water use and greenhouse gas emission and its association with dietary quality (Dutch Healthy Diet index 2015).
Materials and Methods
Food consumption was assessed, in 2012–2016, by two non-consecutive 24 h recalls, in Dutch children and adults aged 1–79 y (n = 4313) (www.wateetnederland.nl). Environmental impact of foods was quantified using life cycle assessment for e.g. indicators (blue) water use and GHG emission. For each participant aged ≥ 18 y (n = 2078), a score was calculated for the Dutch Healthy Diet 2015 index (DHD15) to quantify the quality of diet with respect to health. Statistical analyses were stratified for age and gender.
Daily diets in the Netherlands were associated with 0.14 ± 0.10 m3 blue water use and 5.3 ± 2.4 kg CO2-equivalents GHG emission. Non-alcoholic beverages, nuts and fruits were most important food groups for use of blue water, and meat, dairy and non-alcoholic beverages for GHG emission. DHD15 score was 4.2 ± 1.5 for men and 4.9 ± 1.4 for women. Diets with a higher DHD15 score had a higher blue water use (r = 0.17) and a lower GHG emission (r = -0.35).
Different associations of environmental indicators (blue water use and GHG emission) with health aspects of diets need to be considered when aligning diets for health and sustainability.
To derive healthy and sustainable food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) for different target groups in the Netherlands and describe the process.
Optimised dietary patterns for children, adolescents, adults and the elderly were calculated using an optimisation model. Foods high in saturated and trans-fatty acids, salt and sugar, and low in dietary fibre, were excluded. The dietary patterns resembled the current food consumption as closely as possible, while simultaneously meeting recommendations for food groups, nutrients, maximum limits for foods with a high environmental impact, and within 85 % of the energy requirement. Recommended daily amounts of food groups were based on the optimised dietary patterns and expert judgement.
FBDG were derived for Dutch people with different ages, genders, activity levels and food preferences.
For most target groups the optimisation model provided dietary patterns that complied with all requirements. For some food groups, the optimised amounts varied largely between target groups. For consistent messages to consumers, the optimised dietary patterns were adjusted to uniform recommendations per target group. Recommendations were visualised in the Wheel of Five. The advice is to eat the recommended amounts of foods according to the Wheel of Five and limit consumption of other foods.
Based on an optimisation model, scientific evidence, information on dietary patterns and expert knowledge, we derived FBDG for different target groups. The Wheel of Five is a key food-counselling model that can help Dutch consumers to make their diets healthier and more environmentally sustainable.
To evaluate the greenhouse gas emission (GHGE) of diets in Dutch girls, boys, women and men and to explore associations with diet composition.
Descriptive analyses for the total population as well as stratified for gender, age and dietary environmental load.
Dutch children and adults aged 7–69 years (n 3818).
The GHGE of daily diets was on average 3·2 kg CO2-equivalents (CO2e) for girls, 3·6 kg CO2e for boys, 3·7 kg CO2e for women and 4·8 kg CO2e for men. Meat and cheese contributed about 40 % and drinks (including milk and alcoholic drinks) 20 % to daily GHGE. Considerable differences in environmental loads of diets existed within age and gender groups. Persons with higher-GHGE diets consumed more (in quantity of foods and especially drinks) than their counterparts of a similar sex and age with low-GHGE diets. Major differences between high- and low-GHGE diets were in meat, cheese and dairy consumption as well as in soft drinks (girls, boys and women) and alcoholic drinks (men). Of those, differences in meat consumption determined the differences in GHGE most. Diets with higher GHGE were associated with higher saturated fat intake and lower fibre intake
GHGE of daily diets in the Netherlands is between 3 and 5 kg CO2e, with considerable differences between individuals. Meat, dairy and drinks contribute most to GHGE. The insights of the study may be used in developing (age- and gender-specific) food-based dietary guidelines that take into account both health and sustainability aspects.
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