Are our diets getting healthier and more sustainable? Insights from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition - Netherlands (EPIC-NL) cohort

Sander Biesbroek, Wm Monique Verschuren, Jolanda Ma Boer, Yvonne T van der Schouw, Ivonne Sluijs, Elisabeth Hm Temme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To identify differences in dietary quality, dietary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and food consumption over 20 years in a Dutch cohort.

DESIGN: Participants (n 8932) filled out an FFQ in 1993-1997 and in 2015. The Dutch Healthy Diet index 2015 (DHD15-index) score, GHG emissions and consumption of food groups (g/4184 kJ (1000 kcal)) were compared between the time points with paired t tests.

SETTING: The Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS: European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition - Netherlands (EPIC-NL) cohort, aged 18-65 years at baseline.

RESULTS: Total energy intake decreased by -678 (95 % CI -4908, 3377) kJ/d (-162 (95 % CI -1173, 807) kcal/d) for men and -372 (95 % CI -3820, 3130) kJ/d (-89 (95 % CI -913, 748) kcal/d) for women. DHD15-index scores increased by 11 % (from 64·8 to 71·9 points) and 13 % (from 65·2 to 73·6 points) in men and women, respectively (P < 0·0001), mainly due to an increased (shell)fish and nuts/seeds/nut paste consumption. After energy intake adjustment, dietary-related GHG emissions increased by 5 % in men (2·48-2·61 kg CO2-eq/4184 kJ (1000 kcal), P < 0·0001) and were similar in women (0·4 %, 2·70-2·71 kg CO2-eq/4184 kJ (1000 kcal), P = 0·3930) due to the increased consumption of (shell)fish, nuts/seeds/nut paste, poultry and higher GHG-intensive red meats such as beef.

CONCLUSIONS: This Dutch cohort analyses showed more healthy diets without mitigated GHG emissions over a 20-year period, at similar energy intakes. Higher consumption of (shell)fish and poultry was not yet at the expense of red and processed meat. Lower consumption of animal-based foods is needed to achieve healthier as well as environmentally friendly diets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2931-2940
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume22
Issue number16
Early online date31 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • 20 year
  • Diet
  • Dutch cohort
  • Environmental impact
  • Nutritional quality

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