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The popularity of vegan foods continues to grow. And for many the month of January, after the binge of Christmas, it is time to dare to introduce this type of products in the diet.
Alternatives to cow’s milk, such as oat, soy, almond and coconut milk, are the most popular in the United Kingdom, for example, where sales of plant-based products have increased considerably in recent years.
A scientific study suggests that the emissions of greenhouse gases used in the production of milk of vegetable origin are lower than for milk of animal origin.
But what kind of milk has the least impact on the planet ?
Animal or vegetable?
According to research by the University of Oxford, the production of a glass of cow’s milk generates almost three times more greenhouse gas emissions than vegetable-derived milks.
Regarding land use , the difference is even greater.
According to this study, producing a glass of cow’s milk every day for a year requires 650 square meters of land, the equivalent of two tennis courts and 10 times more than the production of the same amount of oat milk.
The almond , on the other hand, requires more water than the production of soy milk or oats. A single glass requires 74 liters of water, more than what is used in a normal shower.
The rice milk also needs more water than other vegan alternatives in comparison. It requires 54 liters of water per glass.
But it is necessary to point out that both almond milk and rice milk still need less water than to produce a normal glass of cow’s milk.
To find out the climate impact of what you eat and drink, choose one of the 34 elements of our calculator and indicate how often you consume it.
Climate change and food
Food production is responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions produced by man, thus contributing to global warming , according to the study on which the calculator is based, Dr. Joseph Poore, of the University from Oxford.
The research found that meat and other animal products were responsible for most emissions of gases of greenhouse related to food, despite providing only one – fifth of the calories consumed.
People often underestimate the emissions of greenhouse gases produced by food, and milk of animal origin is no exception, according to a study by Dr. Adrian Camilleri, a psychologist at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
“Milk greenhouse gas emissions are about 30 times higher than people think, ” he told the BBC.
“I suspect that the majority of consumers are unaware of the greenhouse gas emissions that are saved by moving from milk milk to milk of vegetable origin , such as soy milk.”