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Scientific Updates /

One Blue Dot®

01 December 2018

Type:

Original research

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is playing its role in promoting nutritious and environmentally-friendly diets in the UK. They believe that dietitians and nutritionists need to act now to facilitate the transition to more sustainable diets, for both the planet and the nation’s health.

The BDA “One Blue Dot®” project aims to support nutrition experts by increasing their understanding of the environmental impact of our food choices and how they can communicate knowledge about sustainable eating habits to their clients.

The project has produced a toolkit with scientific resources for the health professional and practical resources to be shared with consumers. The toolkit is updated regularly and includes:

  • The OBD scientific reference guide: a fully referenced 92-page in depth review of the latest evidence and guidance on what this means in practice for UK consumers. The document was last revised in 2020

  • Nutritional considerations: review of key nutrients of concern if meat, dairy and fish are excluded from the diet and recommended intakes

  • Other sources of key nutrients: significant sources of key nutrients from plant foods with recommended serving suggestions and potential indication for supplementations

  • Infographics

  • Recipes

  • Meal swaps

  • FAQs

  • Presentation slides for health professionals

Access downloads from the BDA website.

OBD® Reference guide

In the report, BDA discuss the environmental impact of the current UK food system as well as government policy to reduce diet-related Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGe). It is estimated that diet-related GHGe accounts for 18-25% of an individuals’ carbon footprint. The foods with the highest GHGe in the UK diet are meat, dairy and soft drinks.

They also review several definitions of sustainable diets and acknowledge that there are some trade-offs between health and environmental objectives. However, they conclude that dietary patterns that are based on nutrient-dense plant-based foods with lower amounts of animal-based protein and processed foods result in better health outcomes and lower environmental impact.

BDA Environmentally Sustainable Dietary recommendations

The reference guide sets out the BDA Environmentally Sustainable Dietary recommendations for the UK. The recommendations are evidence-based and comprehensive, including multiple aspects of sustainable diets.

In particular, they highlight the need to prioritize plant-based proteins over animal-based proteins, reduce consumption of red and processed meat, increase consumption of wholegrains, choose seafood from sustainable sources, consume local and seasonal produce where possible and reduce food waste.

Conclusion

Health professionals, in particular dietitians and registered nutritionists, are best placed to drive credible sustainable diets within the UK. The BDA has produced a multitude of scientific and practical resources to help equip dietitians with the scientific and practical knowledge. The OBD® sustainable diet is in line with current UK food-based dietary guidelines helping to keep consistency in public health messaging and provides clear practical information to help dietitians and consumers put the learnings into practice.

References

  1. British Dietetic Association. One Blue Dot® - the BDA’s environmentally sustainable diet project. BDA 2022. Accessed 19.01.2022. https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/one-blue-dot.html

Scientific update

Plant-based eating and carbon footprint

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