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Ranking food on the basis of nutritional value and long-term sustainability

July 19, 2019

Professors at the ASU College of Health built an algorithm to score to some of the most commonly consumed protein-rich foods, ranking them based on their efficiency at delivering the most protein at the smallest cost to the environment. The recently published research focused on protein-rich foods because protein is not only one of the most important factors in a healthy diet, but also where most resources go in terms of food production. It calculated protein values taking into account its bioavailability and its environmental impact calculated through a life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis.

The study found that foods like peanuts and protein powders were most efficient at delivering protein with a small environmental cost, while cheeses, grains and beef were least efficient. Researchers believe the rankings could be extremely useful in trying to weigh the nutritional quality with the environmental impact of a preferred food type, and also when determining what kinds of foods to send in aid for those in need around the world.

Access the research here.

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