Any of the three diets would be sustainably beneficial from a One Health perspective. However, this is also at the expense of other aspects. The vegan diet scored best in many areas. However, the production of vegan food involves increased water consumption. “In addition, vegans need to take certain nutrients separately, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and even calcium,” Paris says.
The Mediterranean diet (although healthy) also results in increased water requirements due to the high amount of nuts and vegetables. Moreover, if – as assumed in the study – the meat consumed is completely replaced by fish, its effects on animal welfare are surprisingly negative: As fish and seafood are much smaller than, for instance, cows or pigs, considerably more animals suffer as a result of this diet.
The increased consumption of honey, which requires intensive management of bee colonies, also has a negative impact. “It’d therefore beneficial to meet less of your overall protein needs from animal sources,” Neus Escobar emphasizes. “In addition, many people today have diets that are significantly too rich. If they reduced the amount of food they ate, to what they really need, it might have additional positive effects.”