Food production takes up an estimated 19 to 29 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions—a majority of which are from agriculture. Nearly a third of ice-free land is used for food production as well. Food production can increase eutrophication—which is an excess of fertilizers and animal waste that causes an overgrowth of algae and suffocates creatures living in bodies of water.
That adds up to quite a toll on the environment—that said, we still need to eat.
Researchers set out to discover if following nationally recommended diets from 37 different countries would lessen the environment impact. Those recommendations generally call for eating less meat and more vegetables, fruits and nuts—though the changes vary from country to country.