Climatarian Diet | Science Fact Or Fiction?

A Climatarian diet involves choosing what you eat based on the carbon footprint of different foods. It’s mainly focused on  of prioritising locally sourced ingredients to reduce your carbon footprint. The diet doesn’t make you cut out animal products entirely but rather encourages you to consider eating more plant foods and reduce the intake of animal products, cutting those that are the least sustainable for the environment.

But does cutting out these foods benefit our health as well as the environment? Let’s find out.

climatarian diet

What does the Climatarian Diet cut out?

Climatarians minimise foods with the biggest carbon footprint, including: 

  • Beef, pork and lamb
  • Eggs 
  • Farmed salmon 
  • Cheese 
  • Processed foods 

These foods are associated with greater greenhouse gas emissions and more use of water than other options.

1. Red meat, specifically beef, lamb and pork

The production of beef and lamb utilises a lot of water and creates a large amount of greenhouse gases. Climatarian researchers suggest limiting consumption of beef and lamb to once per week (approximately 65g). Current dietary guidelines in the UK recommend limiting red meat consumption to twice per week to reduce the risk of certain adverse health outcomes such as heart disease or colorectal cancer.

2. Cheese

Cheese is also restricted on the Climatarian diet.  This is because cheese relies on dairy cows, which again contribute to greenhouse gases.

3. Chocolate

According to Climatarians, the commercial chocolate industry contributes large amounts of carbon dioxide and has negative impacts on rainforests during cocoa farming. The milk and sugar required for the production of commercial chocolates is also considered by advocates of the diet.

4. Imported produce

Fruits and vegetables are grown seasonally. That means if consumers want and expect their favourite produce year-round, it’s going to need to be imported from elsewhere, usually overseas. So Climatarians recommend eating seasonally. 

climatarian diet

Are there any health benefits to the Climatarian Diet?

We must highlight that if you do choose to decrease meat intake, it’s important to receive nutrients such as protein, iron and B12 elsewhere in the diet to compensate, as red meat is commonly relied on for these. If you’re looking to try a more sustainable red meat option, Climatarians suggest trying bison or venison.

Cheese is a source of protein and calcium in our diets. We can limit cheese intake, and choose less impactful varieties such as feta, brie, camembert, and mozzarella. There are also many dairy free alternatives on the market currently that also taste delicious and have ample calcium.

Highly processed meat has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders and other serious diseases. A Climatarian diet, focused on whole plant-based foods, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart related diseases, autoimmune diseases and obesity, while increasing overall vitality, mental health and longevity.

Major studies have revealed red and processed meat to be associated with an increased risk of a number of different diseases. Replacing red meat with high quality plant protein like nuts, seeds, chick peas, lentils and tofu can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The key ingredients in the diet— vegetables, lentils, beans, whole grains — happen to be packed with fibre and nutrients that are associated with positive health outcomes.


The verdict

You don’t have to go vegan to help reverse climate change. Here’s another way to eat sustainably and get healthy at the same time. We definitely think this diet is worth a go , as it advocates balance as well as sustainability , without cutting out major food groups but rather encouraging consumers to reduce specific foods.

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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Jenaed Gonçalves Brodell

Jenaed Gonçalves Brodell

Writer and expert

Jenaed Gonçalves Brodell is a well know Registered Dietitian (HCPC) and Sport Scientist. She is a fitness enthusiast and comes from a semi professional field hockey background. Her passion for sports nutrition and background in the sporting arena making her relatable to many amateur and elite sports personnel. She has experience working for the NHS & in South Africa as a consultant dietitian. She provides evidence based, easy to follow, practical advice and guidance.She has experience in the Paediatric field specialising in sports performance for junior and adult athletes. Her writing background comes from extensive researching throughout her career finding the most up to date information and translating it into easy to understand information for the public. She shares information on her public instagram page @nutritionaldco_ on the latest in evidence based nutrition.