Reports that bacon is a
better alternative than lettuce due to its environmental impact are misguided
and fail to consider the benefits that vegetables provide consumers, says
vegetable industry body AUSVEG.
The comments come as a result of reports on recent international research that
suggest conforming to current recommendations to incorporate more fruits,
vegetables, dairy and seafood in a diet could be worse for the environment.
Researchers have distanced themselves from the sensational claims, which have
been attributed to a PR department.
“News reports that attempt to demonise vegetable consumption and those who make
healthy lifestyle choices are detrimental to consumers and threaten to endanger
public health,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.
“The most recent example comes from reporting of a US study that suggests
lettuce is worse for the environment than bacon. Not only does this line of
reporting fail to take into account the health benefits that come from eating
vegetables and fruit, the words lettuce and bacon do not even appear in the
“Lettuce is a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals and water for rehydration,
which are all important for a healthy heart and immune system. With the recent
spell of warm weather sweeping through southern Australia, consumers should be
encouraged to eat more vegetables, not be misled by sensationalised reporting.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing over 9,000 Australian
vegetable and potato growers.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States modelled the
environmental impact of three different diet scenarios: reduced calorie intake
and unchanged food choices; current calorie intake and changed food choices;
and reduced calorie intake and changed food choices in accordance to the United
States Department of Agriculture recommendations. These scenarios were measured
against changes in energy use, blue water footprint and greenhouse gas.
“By only taking into account calorie intake and ignoring the wider nutritional
benefits of lettuce that myriad research has proven time and time again, the
basic facts of maintaining a heathy lifestyle have been ignored,” said Mr
“Vegetables are just one part of a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes fruit,
nuts, lean meat and exercise. Focusing on calories and making
attention-grabbing claims that bacon is a better alternative than lettuce risks
undermining the benefits that eating a vegetable-rich diet can have for
“Scores of research from around the world continues to detail the enormous
health benefits of eating vegetables. Suggesting vegetables are not healthy –
whether it is for consumers or Mother Nature – condemns vegetables and is
detrimental to public health.” 

Lindhe, Manager – Communications, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9882 0277 Mobile: 0405 977 789 E-mail: