Integrating protein quality and quantity with environmental impacts in life cycle assessment

Andrew Berardy, Carol Johnston, Alexandra Plukis, Maricarmen Vizcaino, Christopher Wharton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates environmental impacts of a product from material extraction through disposal. Applications of LCA in evaluating diets and foods indicate that plant-based foods have lower environmental impacts than animal-based foods, whether on the basis of total weight or weight of the protein content. However, LCA comparisons do not differentiate the true biological value of protein bioavailability. This paper presents a methodology to incorporate protein quality and quantity using the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) when making comparisons using LCA data. The methodology also incorporates the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs) to best represent actual consumption patterns. Integration of these measures into LCA provides a mechanism to identify foods that offer balance between the true value of their protein and environmental impacts. To demonstrate, this approach is applied to LCA data regarding common protein foods' global warming potential (GWP). The end result is a ratio-based score representing the biological value of protein on a GWP basis. Principal findings show that protein powders provide the best efficiency while cheeses, grains, and beef are the least efficient. This study demonstrates a new way to evaluate foods in terms of nutrition and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2747
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Fingerprint

life cycle assessment
Environmental impact
environmental impact
Life cycle
life cycle
food
Proteins
protein
Global warming
Nutrition
global warming
Values
Beef
methodology
Cheeses
Environmental impact assessments
environmental impact assessment
nutrition
agricultural product
bioavailability

Keywords

  • Diet
  • Environmental impacts
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Plant-based diets
  • Protein
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Integrating protein quality and quantity with environmental impacts in life cycle assessment. / Berardy, Andrew; Johnston, Carol; Plukis, Alexandra; Vizcaino, Maricarmen; Wharton, Christopher.

In: Sustainability (Switzerland), Vol. 11, No. 10, 2747, 01.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{4770f7a2414d49ae918fbc595a3bf31a,
title = "Integrating protein quality and quantity with environmental impacts in life cycle assessment",
abstract = "Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates environmental impacts of a product from material extraction through disposal. Applications of LCA in evaluating diets and foods indicate that plant-based foods have lower environmental impacts than animal-based foods, whether on the basis of total weight or weight of the protein content. However, LCA comparisons do not differentiate the true biological value of protein bioavailability. This paper presents a methodology to incorporate protein quality and quantity using the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) when making comparisons using LCA data. The methodology also incorporates the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs) to best represent actual consumption patterns. Integration of these measures into LCA provides a mechanism to identify foods that offer balance between the true value of their protein and environmental impacts. To demonstrate, this approach is applied to LCA data regarding common protein foods' global warming potential (GWP). The end result is a ratio-based score representing the biological value of protein on a GWP basis. Principal findings show that protein powders provide the best efficiency while cheeses, grains, and beef are the least efficient. This study demonstrates a new way to evaluate foods in terms of nutrition and sustainability.",
keywords = "Diet, Environmental impacts, Life cycle assessment, Plant-based diets, Protein, Sustainability",
author = "Andrew Berardy and Carol Johnston and Alexandra Plukis and Maricarmen Vizcaino and Christopher Wharton",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.3390/su11102747",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "11",
journal = "Sustainability",
issn = "2071-1050",
publisher = "Mary Ann Liebert Inc.",
number = "10",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Integrating protein quality and quantity with environmental impacts in life cycle assessment

AU - Berardy, Andrew

AU - Johnston, Carol

AU - Plukis, Alexandra

AU - Vizcaino, Maricarmen

AU - Wharton, Christopher

PY - 2019/5/1

Y1 - 2019/5/1

N2 - Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates environmental impacts of a product from material extraction through disposal. Applications of LCA in evaluating diets and foods indicate that plant-based foods have lower environmental impacts than animal-based foods, whether on the basis of total weight or weight of the protein content. However, LCA comparisons do not differentiate the true biological value of protein bioavailability. This paper presents a methodology to incorporate protein quality and quantity using the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) when making comparisons using LCA data. The methodology also incorporates the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs) to best represent actual consumption patterns. Integration of these measures into LCA provides a mechanism to identify foods that offer balance between the true value of their protein and environmental impacts. To demonstrate, this approach is applied to LCA data regarding common protein foods' global warming potential (GWP). The end result is a ratio-based score representing the biological value of protein on a GWP basis. Principal findings show that protein powders provide the best efficiency while cheeses, grains, and beef are the least efficient. This study demonstrates a new way to evaluate foods in terms of nutrition and sustainability.

AB - Life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluates environmental impacts of a product from material extraction through disposal. Applications of LCA in evaluating diets and foods indicate that plant-based foods have lower environmental impacts than animal-based foods, whether on the basis of total weight or weight of the protein content. However, LCA comparisons do not differentiate the true biological value of protein bioavailability. This paper presents a methodology to incorporate protein quality and quantity using the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) when making comparisons using LCA data. The methodology also incorporates the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs) to best represent actual consumption patterns. Integration of these measures into LCA provides a mechanism to identify foods that offer balance between the true value of their protein and environmental impacts. To demonstrate, this approach is applied to LCA data regarding common protein foods' global warming potential (GWP). The end result is a ratio-based score representing the biological value of protein on a GWP basis. Principal findings show that protein powders provide the best efficiency while cheeses, grains, and beef are the least efficient. This study demonstrates a new way to evaluate foods in terms of nutrition and sustainability.

KW - Diet

KW - Environmental impacts

KW - Life cycle assessment

KW - Plant-based diets

KW - Protein

KW - Sustainability

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85067127587&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85067127587&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3390/su11102747

DO - 10.3390/su11102747

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85067127587

VL - 11

JO - Sustainability

JF - Sustainability

SN - 2071-1050

IS - 10

M1 - 2747

ER -