The effect of religious dietary cultures on food nitrogen and phosphorus footprints: A case study of india

Aurup Ratan Dhar, Azusa Oita, Kazuyo Matsubae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The excessive consumption of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), two vital nutrients for living organisms, is associated with negative environmental and health impacts. While food production contributes to a large amount of N and P loss to the environment, very little N and P is consumed as food. Food habits are affected by multiple regulations, including the dietary restrictions and dictates of various religions. In this study, religion-sensitive N-Calculator and P-Calculator approaches were used to determine the impact of religious dietary culture on the food N and P footprints of India in the major religious communities. Using 2013 data, the food N footprint of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists was 10.70, 11.45, 11.47, and 7.39 kg-N capita−1 year−1 (10.82 kg-N capita−1 year−1 was the national average), and the food P footprint was 1.46, 1.58, 1.04. 1.58 and 1.58 kg-P capita−1 year−1 (1.48 kg-P capita−1 year−1 was the national average). The findings highlight the impact of individual choice on the N and P food footprints, and the importance of encouraging the followers of religion to follow a diet consistent with the food culture of that religion. The results of this study are a clear indication of the requirement for religion-sensitive analyses in the collecting of data pertinent to a particular country for use in making government policies designed to improve the recycling of food waste and the treatment of wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1926
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • Bottom-up approach
  • Culture and religion
  • Food consumption
  • Nutrient management
  • Religion-sensitive footprint methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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