New research published in the journal Plos One has looked at the different ways specific foods and diets contribute to climate change.

Scientists found that whilst it is important to switch to a plant-based diet, a quarter of diet-related emissions comes from coffee, alcohol, cakes, and other ‘optional’ food and drinks.

Food is a big player in greenhouse gas emissions and needs to be reduced. The study found that animal products are responsible for almost half of the average diet’s greenhouse gas emissions. Drinks were responsible for 15% of emissions.

Holly Rippin, from the University of Leeds who led the study, said: “We all want to do our bit to help save the planet. Working out how to modify our diets is one way we can do that. There are broad-brush concepts like reducing our meat intake, particularly red meat, but our work also shows that big gains can be made from small changes, like cutting out sweets.”

Marco Springmann from the University of Oxford also took part in the research. He said: “We think the fact that vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets can save you a lot of money is going to surprise people. When scientists like me advocate for healthy and environmentally-friendly eating it’s often said that we’re sitting in our ivory towers promoting something that is financially out of reach for most people. This study shows that it’s quite the opposite. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as your health and the health of the planet.”