“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” said Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences as well as engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, in a press release. “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”
Fischbeck and other researchers looked how Americans' food supply chain impacts the environment by examining the energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions that result from how our foods are grown, processed, transported, sold, stored, and ultimately eaten. While maintaining a healthy diet could help reduce some of these environmental impacts, the researchers determined that the recommended diet of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and seafood had a negative impact in all three categories. Specifically, energy use went up by 38%, water use by 10%, and greenhouse gas emissions by 6%, according to the release.