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Junk food affects water and planet: Study

Junk food affects water and planet

Ground Report | New Delhi: Junk food affects water; Today’s society has evolved towards a lifestyle where everything is done quickly: each time we crave transport that is faster, fast fashion is the order of the day, and even eating we are in a hurry. But you know what they say: “what is done quickly, slowly cries.”

Junk food affects water

And it is that deforestation, the loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, water pollution, or the increase in greenhouse gas emissions … are just a few of the long list of negative impacts on the planet that are hidden behind the consumption of excess hypercaloric food.

According to a study carried out by the Institute for Research in Food Behavior and Nutrition of Guadalajara, Mexico, there is a strong relationship between high-calorie diets and a high water footprint.

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The researchers state that “the diets of people with excess adiposity generate a statistically higher water footprint with an additional expenditure of 729 liters per person per day (up) compared to the population with normal adiposity.” What does this mean? That the apparently innocent gesture of sitting in a fast-food chain to eat a hamburger has a huge environmental impact.

Eating badly is expensive

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the carbon footprint of a hamburger, that is, the amount of greenhouse gases it releases to produce each of its components, is equivalent to 2.5 kg. If we also include French fries, we must add 2.2 kg more.

All this if we consume it at home, but if on top of that the hamburger is consumed in a local, all the waste of packaging, condiments, transport, etc. comes into play. For example, the paper or cardboard that wraps food, the beverage container, the paper that covers the tray, or the paper napkins are single-use materials that are wasted and end up in the trash since they cannot be recycled for be contaminated. It should also be noted the number of condiments and sauces that are not used or the food that the chains waste every day.

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The slow food, the friendly alternative environment

It is clear that our industrialized food production systems are a source of pollution that contributes to climate change and a cause of biodiversity loss. This does not mean that you have to demonize fast food but rather try to consume it in a more sustainable way , but it does mean that there are certain actions you can take to reduce the environmental cost of your diet:

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  • Support sustainable agriculture and local buying: by buying from small businesses and retailers you will consume up to 56% less energy and generate 64% less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Research where food comes from and how it is produced: pesticides and fungicides that are often used to increase agricultural and livestock yields can have detrimental effects not only on your health but also on the ecosystem
  • Grow your own food: in this way, you will avoid the use of chemicals, containers, preservatives, fuel for transport and storage.
  • Adopt a diet rich in vegetables and fruits: it is estimated that in 2050 70% of greenhouse gas emissions will come from agricultural production. A diet rich in vegetables consumes less land, produces fewer greenhouse gases, requires less water, and improves animal welfare.
  • Reduce food waste: plan ahead and buy only the foods you know you will eat, take advantage of every edible part of the food you buy, try to avoid overdoing food by measuring portions, store food correctly, get creative with the leftovers and compost the inedible remains and use it as a garden fertilizer.
  • Avoid unnecessary packaging: whenever possible, choose unwrapped products. When you go shopping, take reusable or cloth bags with you and store the food in glass jars.

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