Which is Worse for the Planet? Lettuce or Bacon?

Which is Worse for the Planet?  Lettuce or Bacon?

A study claims lettuce may produce more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than bacon does by a particular metric.  And there is more to the whole story.

The claim that lettuce produces more GHGs per calorie originates from a Carnegie Mellon University study that was promoted recently.

It found that the U.S. National Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recommendations on how much produce, seafood and dairy you should eat could be “harmful to the environment.”

The study, by Prof. Paul Fischbeck, and graduate students Michelle Tom and Chris Hendrickson, examined how many resources U.S. diets consume, and how many GHGs they produce per calorie.

“Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken,” Fischbeck said in a news release.

Many outlets (and Carnegie Mellon’s news release) jumped on the study’s finding that lettuce is “three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon.”

And at least one expert blasted the claim as ludicrous.

Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mellon University offers degrees in 20 locations around the world.