The American diet is the SUV of eating styles," says Kate Geagan, registered dietitian and author of the new book Go Green Get Lean. Geagan reports that eating the average American diet creates 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide emissions yearly, surpassing the 2.2 tons each of us generates by driving a car. Her new plan reduces weight and our carbon footprint. "They're naturally aligned," she says. For example:
- Raising beef accounts for 18 percent of global warming emissions worldwide. If for one day you switch to the vegetarian meals Geagan suggests, you'll save roughly 890 calories and nine pounds of carbon. Do this for two weeks, and you'll reduce your carbon footprint by 122 pounds and your calories by 12,460—leaving yourself about three and a half pounds lighter.
- Manufacturing the amount of sugar the typical American eats in a year—150 pounds' worth—releases 855 pounds of carbon. Most of us could easily halve that by avoiding processed foods and sodas. At the same time, we'd be cutting 7,500 calories a month, the equivalent of about two pounds of weight. "Every day we make dozens of food choices," says Geagan. "Make smarter ones and you can have an immediate impact on the planet and your health."