This was followed by dairy at 17 percent and meat and mixed meat dishes at 14 percent.
Growing this wasted food used 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water, 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertiliser and 780 million pounds of pesticides.
Zach Conrad, a postdoctoral nutritionist with the ARS Grand Forks (North Dakota) Human Nutrition Research Center, together with fellow nutritionist Lisa Jahns and colleagues from the University of Vermont and University of New Hampshire, conducted the food-waste study to fill gaps left by prior research that sought to establish links between diet quality and environmental impacts.
Maintaining the environment while also improving diet quality is an important and challenging global issue.
"Just because a banana has bruise on it, doesn't mean we have to throw it away. and we can re-purpose it, maybe we don't want to eat it straight but we could put it in a smoothie or we can blend it up and make banana bread", Niles stresses.
New food waste research from the United States unveils the shocking truths about the amount of food tossed out every day and it is people with healthier diets rich in fresh produce that are among the worst offenders.
Wasting food is nearly an inevitable part of the American way of life.
"Higher quality diets have greater amounts of fruits and vegetables, which are being wasted in greater quantities than other food", says co-author Meredith Niles, a University of Vermont assistant professor.
Americans waste almost a pound of food per person each day, but the exact amount of food we trash differs by how healthy your diet is, a new University of Vermont co-authored national study finds.
Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture analysed eight years of food data, up to 2014, to see where food is wasted and also what members of the public say they do at mealtimes.
Researchers also found higher-quality diets were linked to higher levels of waste.
The next phase of research is to use the nutritional information already obtained on these foodwaste sources, to evaluate their effects on growth performance and carcass composition.
Due to their higher consumption of fruit and vegetables, people following a healthier diet are shown to be more wasteful as fresh produce - which requires less land to grow compared with other foods but more substantial amounts of pesticides and water - gets discarded often. A further four out of the 10 don't prevent the waste of food considered too cosmetically "imperfect" to sell. We anticipate that the results from our life cycle analysis will show that using foodwaste as a feed ingredient in swine diets can have significant environmental benefits for reducing the carbon footprint of pork production. "A healthy diet isn't necessarily bad for the environment if consumers are sensitive to factors such as perishability when they shop and cook", she says. "Looking at them holistically will become increasingly important to finding sustainable ways of meeting the needs of a growing world population". It found that certain types of food tend to produce different amounts and different types of waste.
Nuts and seeds, potatoes and mixed potato dishes, and table oils and salad dressing had the lowest rates of foodwaste at 12-18 percent each.
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