Be careful, eating too much protein can harm your planet

Spirulina, soy, chia or pumpkin seeds… Alternatives to meat are popular because they are high in protein. If you’ve decided to choose them to reduce the carbon impact of your food on the planet, keep in mind that overfilling wouldn’t be a good idea either: it would contribute to nitrogen pollution. Explanation.

We find it in our sirloin steak, but also in our fried egg or even in a bowl of lentils or a bean sprouts salad… Proteins are an essential part of our body because they form muscle tissue and contribute to the renewal of cells in bones, hair or nails . Of animal or plant origin, this family of macronutrients should represent between 10 and 27% of the daily energy intake of an adult under the age of 60, the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) indicates. More specifically, 100 to 150 grams of meat, fish or egg amply covers these needs, according to the National Health Nutrition Program “Eating and Exercise.”

And that’s all! When you consume too much protein, the excess is filtered by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine. This creates urea, a type of waste that is distinguished by its nitrogen-rich compounds. In addition to the nutritional problem, there is another concern that we were not aware of beforehand, namely environmental pollution with nitrogen. And therein lies the whole problem!

The scientific magazine Scientific American reports that nitrogen can decompose and form oxidized nitrogen gases that can be released into the atmosphere. In this case, the process contributes to global warming by supporting the presence of greenhouse gases. Ultimately, our excessive protein consumption, which ends up in the urine, is detected in the wastewater, and thus possibly that of the tap. For example, scientists have evidence of the impact of the proteins in our diet on the environment. The observation is clear: 67 to 100% of nitrogen pollution in wastewater is produced by what people eat.

So there is good news: we have the means to take action to reduce the supply of nitrogen that pollutes the soil and the atmosphere. Because according to an American study by the University of California at Davis, published in the journal Limits in ecology and environmentIf the U.S. population were to consume the proper amount of protein that corresponds to recommended doses, nitrogen rejection rates could be 27% lower by 2055 than today, even as the population of l Sam rises. Americans are the benchmark for this study simply because the United States is one of the largest protein eaters.

The technology could also help to remove up to 90% nitrogen from wastewater. Already developed, unfortunately it is expensive to set up. Only 1% of wastewater in North America benefits…

(ETX Daily Up)

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