Skip to content

Don’t Eat Lettuce – (Or Anything Else For That Matter)

December 16, 2015

By Paul Homewood




And no, it’s not April 1st!


From Yahoo:


Greenhouse gas emissions from lettuce production are three times higher per calorie than from bacon, study finds

Eating lettuce could be three times worse for the environment than bacon, scientists have claimed.

Despite calls from celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sir Paul McCartney for people to eat less meat to help save the planet, new research suggests that ‘healthier’ diets with more fruit and vegetables could actually be worse for global warming.

The study, by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, compared the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of 1,000 calories of different foods.

“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” Professor Paul Fischbeck, one of the report’s authors, concluded .

Lettuce is so low in calories that someone would need to eat at least two whole iceberg lettuces to get close to the calorie intake of two rashers of smoked back bacon.

As a result, the emissions from transporting bulky lettuces are far higher per calorie than those from pork. Lettuce is also far more likely to perish before it reaches the dinner table, with the food waste further increasing its emissions footprint.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    December 16, 2015 10:44 am

    Ditch the sprouts – pigs in blankets all round next week!

  2. December 16, 2015 10:48 am

    Have we entered a new low in the emissions saga just when we thought it could not get much sillier?

    • Oswald Thake permalink
      December 16, 2015 4:23 pm

      Apparently not, P! There’s no limit with the imaginary terrors these foolish people can be obsessed with. Waiting in the wings is concern with a rising atmospheric oxygen level due to electrolysis of water (powered by wind, natch) to produce hydrogen for cars; I understand there’s such a facility just off the M62. The oxygen is vented off into the air. Remember, you read it here first!

  3. Anoneumouse permalink
    December 16, 2015 10:54 am

    That’s buggered my BLT

  4. David Richardson permalink
    December 16, 2015 10:55 am

    Hells Bells – it gets worse doesn’t? Oh! wait a minute – even thinking that is falling into the trap of panic and stupidity isn’t it?

    We all have to pay 5p now for plastic bags and none of us believe that dumping plastic bags in the countryside or in the oceans is a good thing. But when was the last time you did that? My better-half (never one to waste anything) used the supermarket bags in the kitchen waste-bin. Now she buys rolls of them instead!? Then a university research group found that unless a supermarket “bag for life” was used 40 plus times it was worse for the environment than the throw-aways and the average use before replacement was 30.

    Now based on out-of-date stupidity you can buy a £100 garment and have to pay 5p to have it wrapped!!

    Well recommended is the book “Panic Nation – Exposing the myths we’re told about food and health” by Stanley A. Feldman and Vincent Marks – available for 1p plus postage on Amazon or available on Kindle for £5-60.

  5. NeilC permalink
    December 16, 2015 10:57 am

    Baked Beans are worse!

  6. Paul2 permalink
    December 16, 2015 11:02 am

    We have reached peak lettuce. Expect the worst.

    • December 16, 2015 12:17 pm

      Carrying this to a logical conclusion could result in peak constipation.

  7. Joe Public permalink
    December 16, 2015 11:03 am

    Strangely, the treehuggers seemed to have missed this story, and how it might contribute towards saving our planet.

  8. tom0mason permalink
    December 16, 2015 11:23 am

    As lettuce has chemicals in them that have effects on the human brain similar to opioids, eating 2 head of lettuce may leave someone feeling as dozy and muddle-headed as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sir Paul McCartney and all the other veggy advocates.

    • M E permalink
      December 17, 2015 9:18 am

      It is strange that they have not read about FODMAPs which have a very bad effect on health…. ” FODMAPs include fructose (when in excess of glucose), fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose and polyols (eg. sorbitol and mannitol). ” Worth a look for many people with aching limbs etc. as well as the obvious gut problems.

  9. December 16, 2015 12:14 pm

    I refer to these tomes as “tenure and promotion studies.” This is what happens when so-called institutions of higher learning engage in the “publish or perish” ideal. They should be properly dubbed institutions of “higher propaganda.”

  10. December 16, 2015 1:32 pm

    Right….the only answer I have to this is to buy a couple of pigs and feed them lettuces.

    • Paul2 permalink
      December 16, 2015 1:55 pm

      Feed ’em to the pigs Errol.

      • FundMe permalink
        December 16, 2015 7:14 pm

        Tommy Cooper was exiting a tube station and was confronted by a crusty who having the usual dog on a string said “hey man have you got a pound for a pie”…Tomy cooper replied “Eat the fucking dog man”.

  11. John Page permalink
    December 16, 2015 1:56 pm

    One has to wonder why The Telegraph gave this ludicrous formulation any space at all, let alone put it on the front page. Did the prof intend it as a parody of environmental alarmism, perhaps?

  12. Bill Berry permalink
    December 16, 2015 2:36 pm

    Own petard springs to mind

  13. December 16, 2015 3:22 pm

    Most greens are cellulose and the human body cannot digest cellulose: needing 4 stomachs or a different digestive system. They are mostly bull**** and advertising anyway, look at all those healthy Scotsmen: these stringy apologies for lettuce that are served in most restaurants, should be fed to the pigs and sheep first: much tastier …. now you’re talking!

    Baked beans are mainly starch, so obviously not a danger to the carbon balance of the greenies.

  14. john cooknell permalink
    December 16, 2015 4:37 pm

    Is this what is meant by a low carb diet?

  15. December 16, 2015 5:27 pm

    Warmaholics need new scare stories every day to feed their addiction.

  16. Stonyground permalink
    December 16, 2015 7:42 pm

    ” Waiting in the wings is concern with a rising atmospheric oxygen level due to electrolysis of water (powered by wind, natch) to produce hydrogen for cars; I understand there’s such a facility just off the M62. The oxygen is vented off into the air. Remember, you read it here first!”

    As far as I am aware, hydrogen has limited use as a fuel due to having a fairly low energy density. Regarding the oxygen problem, any oxygen released by the process of electrolysis would be exactly balanced by that consumed as the fuel was burned.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      December 17, 2015 9:57 am

      “any oxygen released by the process of electrolysis would be exactly balanced by that consumed as the fuel was burned”. Not quite high pressure hydrolysis is about 80-83
      % efficient, so more fuel is burned to generate oxygen. Low pressure intermittent hydrolysis e.g. from wind turbines is AT BEST 45% efficient. Some evaluations report less than 35%.
      So expensive electricity from wind is converted inefficiently into hydrogen, then converted back inefficiently to electricity (or even less efficiently to power cars etc.).

      At 80% 5 units in/4 units out translates to a 25% increase in cost. At 50% 5 units in/2.5 units out doubles the cost of electricity. Since the real cost of wind is at least 3 times the real cost of coal fired electricity, you (but not sod) will understand why engineers are building more coal fired power stations.

  17. Steven Douglas permalink
    December 17, 2015 4:33 am

    “higher per calorie”?! IS HE SERIOUS? As if the value of lettuce is based on caloric content? Somebody whack-a-mole, please, these idiots are beyond out of control.

  18. Lawrence13 permalink
    December 17, 2015 12:14 pm

    There was a report a few years ago that salmonella was found on a lettuce and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

  19. Craig Shapiro permalink
    December 17, 2015 8:03 pm

    The researchers who conducted the study said the headlines mischaracterized their findings. All it did was point out that a few vegetables and fruit have a higher water footprint than meats, and it did not examine a vegetarian/vegan diet. Check this out:

  20. FashionFan permalink
    December 17, 2015 8:55 pm

    If reporters had been as concerned with responsible journalism as they were with creating click-bait headlines, they would have mentioned the fact that because lettuce has basically no calories, you would have to produce tons and tons of it to equal the calories in just a tiny snippet of animal flesh, and obviously, producing many, many heads of lettuce is going to require a lot of energy. Most plant foods are still far less taxing to the environment than growing all those plants then feeding loads of them to animals for months to produce a comparatively small amount of meat along with a great amount of methane and waste.

  21. December 18, 2015 7:06 pm

    This is nothing more than shameless click-bait and a complete distortion of what the meta-analysis actually found. The researches themselves have stated that the headlines are a total mischaracterization of their findings. None of the hypothetical diets analyzed were vegan or even vegetarian—in fact, two of them accounted for eating more fish and other sea life, which have a relatively greenhouse gas emission level. Many of the plant-based foods the researchers analyzed are responsible for far less greenhouse gas emissions than than pork, including kale, broccoli, rice, potatoes, spinach and wheat (among others). And vegetarian staples like grains and soy have some of the lowest levels of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. This explains it clearly:

    • December 18, 2015 10:54 pm

      Click -Bait, Lucy? This was only what the Telegraph reported.

      If you want to eat kale and spinach, that is up to you. Personally I have had a delicious fillet steak with pepper sauce, washed down with a bottle of shiraz tonight. (A fit reward for 10 miles on my bike today!)

      But I object to my taxes funding ridiculous studies about which foods produce the most GHG. While little greenie tosspots are reducing Europe to a laughing stock, the rest of the world is getting on with the business of improving the life of its people.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: