Swedish Dietary Guidelines May Go Green

Sweden is testing out an experiment, which, if successful, may lead to the adoption of the first environmentally-conscious dietary guidelines. The proposed guidelines take into consideration both nutrition and environmentally-friendly choices. Experts estimate that the proposed guidelines could reduce food emissions by 20-50% if followed. Some examples of recommendations include:

  • Eat less meat and poultry, and choose local grass-fed livestock when possible
  • Eat fish that is caught or farmed sustainably
  • Choose locally grown, seasonal and organic produce
  • Choose cereals or potatoes over rice, because their production emits less methane
  • Purchase rapeseed oil over palm oil for both health and environmental reasons; palm oil is high in saturated fat and is primarily cultivated on former rainforest lands
  • Drink tap water over bottled water

Currently, food items in grocery stores and restaurants wear a new labeling description: kg of Co2 emissions. The hope is that, by placing this information on labels and menus, consumers will become more aware of the environmental impact of foods and make choices that are more environmentally-friendly. Is it working? According to Max, a Swedish burger chain, sales of climate-friendly items have risen 20 percent since they started labeling menus with emissions information.

What do you think: would you like to see Co2 emission information on food products? Should the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines “go green?”


Rosenthal, Elizabeth (2009). “To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates.” The New York Times. Accessed on November 1, 2009 from:


Livsmedels Verket National Food Administration. “The National Food Administration’s environmentally effective food choices: Propsoal notified to the EU.” Accessed on November 1, 2009 from: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/sweden_foodguidelines.pdf

3 responses to “Swedish Dietary Guidelines May Go Green

  1. Interesting concepts. I like most of them, but I eat a lot of brown rice and don’t think I could replace it with potatoes, but maybe other grains.

  2. I love this plan, but I don’t see our government supporting it . . . the meat industry has too much money and lobbyists. But that doesn’t mean that we can each take matters into our own hands when we go shopping!

  3. Nicole, I had no idea about this initiative. Very neat! I don’t know if green is mainstream yet in all of America, although I think we are certainly heading in this direction. I would like to see a this good label, but first the Nutrition Facts Panel needs to be updated!

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