23/10/2010 08:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Could Giving Up Meat Help Save The Environment?

Stock.xchng, Egahen

If you're a committed carnivore, it's not particularly good news. Eating less meat, say scientists from the University of East Anglia, may reduce greenhouse gas emissions - in other words, giving up steak and chops could help reduce climate change.

The researchers' report was commissioned by the Food Standards Agency. It involved analysing information about the effects various different types of foods have on the environment in terms of how much they contribute to the emissions that are thought to be involved in climate change.

But it's not just meat that gets the environmental thumbs down, say the researchers. Other foods such as sugar, cheese, tea and coffee are also high-emissions foods, they say.

Eating more pulses and cereals, however, was recommended, as was buying more local and seasonal foods in order to reduce emissions involved in transporting foods from further afield.

According to the report, meat and dairy consumption is responsible for more than 50% of the emissions associated with the typical British diet, and that beef, lamb, pork and cheese are linked with up to 13 times more emissions than vegetables and pulses.

Vegetarian campaigners are naturally delighted with the report's findings, but farmers' groups are not amused, saying there's no truth in the idea eating fruit and veg is better for the planet than eating meat and dairy foods.

If you're a dedicated meat eater, would a report like this change your mind about your diet? Have you already made an attempt to buy more locally-produced foods?

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