The importance of dietary choices for the environmental impact of food- a method for evaluating different diets from both environmental and health perspectives

Last changed: 20 April 2012

Our everyday food choices affect both the environment and our health. Life cycle assessment is an established methodology for assessing the environmental impact of products and numerous food products have been analyzed with this method. Most often these studies describe the environmental impact of one kilogram of a particular food product. In our diets food products are parts of the whole diet which should be varied and satisfy nutritional and energy needs as well as cultural and social needs. The environmental impact and health effects of dietary choices are often treated as separate aspects of food consumption, both by authorities and researchers. But dietary recommendations have environmental consequences which are not usually considered. During the last couple of years, the environmental impact and heath aspects of food have attracted much attention, politically, commercially, scientifically and publically. Therefore it is interesting to study how diets can be optimized both from a health and an environmental perspective.

The aim of this study is to develop a method for evaluating the whole diet from environmental and health perspectives. The objectives are to compare relevant Swedish dietary habits and to evaluate prospects for improving their environmental and health profile.

Studied diets:

  • Swedish dietary recommendations (SNÖ) from the Swedish National Food Agency
  •  Riksmaten, a national survey of dietary habits conducted by the Swedish National Food Agency
  • LCHF (low carbohydrate high fat) diet.

The project is an interdisciplinary cooperation between the Department of Energy and Technology and the Department of Food Science.


Cecilia Sundberg (project manager), researcher at the Department of Energy and Technology

Cornelia Witthöft, researcher at the Department of Food Sciences

Elin Röös, PhD student at the Department of Energy and Technology

Hanna Karlsson, research assistant at the Department of Energy and Technology