3 New Carbon-Free Diets

By: James Flippin · January 26, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Eating with a Purpose

While the goal behind most diets is to make yourself healthier, there’s a new purpose emerging. Younger generations have started prioritizing the health of the planet, in addition to their own.

As part of this recent trend, three new popular diets center around ditching plastic packaging, boycotting imported foods, and avoiding products that harm the environment, animals, or the people that produce them.

Food producers are looking to capitalize on the movement by racing to add “carbon-free” labels to their products, along with restaurant chains including Chipotle (CMG) and Panera Bread (PNRA). Some experts predict these climate-directed diets could even be the norm by 2030.

Do You Like “Green” Eggs & Ham?

Rather than focusing solely on nutritional content, these planet-focused diets center around foods that are sustainable for the environment, with greater consideration given to how ingredients are sourced.

For example, some diets focus on ditching foods that are wrapped in plastic with the intent that boycotting these foods could influence companies to produce alternative packaging.

Other diets aim to reduce the carbon footprint of your meal. For example, while a pack of avocados might be delicious and healthy, they are known to produce high carbon emissions due to complexities involved in growing, ripening and transporting the popular green fruit.

The Diets

Amidst the recent trend, there are three climate-conscious diets gaining popularity.

“Sustainatarians” eat mostly a plant-based diet, but are open to eating meat when it is locally sourced and humanely raised, as in the example of free range chickens.

“Climatarians” and “climavores” are flexible in terms of diet, hence the respective labels for vegetarians and meat-eaters. They make food choices based mainly on climate impact, such as choosing local goods with low carbon emissions or crops that benefit soil.

Finally, “reducetarians” stay away from meat for a variety of environmental reasons, including biodiversity loss, animal cruelty, or simply the massive amounts of land, water, and resources required to raise livestock.

It doesn’t end there. Keep digging and you’ll find a slew of earth-conscious diets, including “regenivores” who only eat food that actively helps the planet.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in climate justice, but not necessarily the new labels that go along with it, you can simply start by eating more locally-raised and plant-based products. It’s the overarching trend among all these diets — and many health-focused ones as well.

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