If you want to help save the planet, eat less meat.
That's the conclusion of freshly-minted federal recommendations that could radically alter the way Americans eat.
"A diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet," states the report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Environmentalists and the beef and cattle industry have been anxiously awaiting the recommendations from a panel of scientists and academics which are expected to serve as a roadmap for the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments as they craft dietary guidelines later this year.
If USDA and HHS adopt the recommendations, it would mark the first time that the federal government has factored environmental impacts into dietary guidelines.
Green groups want the guidelines to warn that cattle farming packs a far greater carbon footprint punch than the cultivation of vegetables. But the meat industry says the guidelines have no business delving into the environmental impacts of American eating habits.