...We developed the Health Nutritional Index to quantify marginal health effects in minutes of healthy life gained or lost of 5,853 foods in the US diet, ranging from 74 min lost to 80 min gained per serving. Environmental impacts showed large variations and were found to be correlated with global warming, except those related to water use. Our analysis also indicated that substituting only 10% of daily caloric intake from beef and processed meat for fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and selected seafood could offer substantial health improvements of 48 min gained per person per day and a 33% reduction in dietary carbon footprint.
This classification constitutes a win– win solution, meaning that consumption of foods in this category can lead to healthy and environmentally sustainable diets. Foods in this zone are predominantly made out of nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and some seafood. The nutritional performances of these primarily plant-based foods vary noticeably.