There's one huge reason to go meatless that has nothing to do with health or how much you love animals -- the environment and everyone on the planet whose lives depend on it.
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The global meat industry pollutes more than the transportation sector and accounts for nearly one-fifth of total worldwide greenhouse gases. And a new study conducted by Marco Springmann, researcher at the University of Oxford, and his colleagues reveals that plant-based diets could be the answer to reducing global food emissions and saving millions of lives.
Why is this crucial right now? According to Springmann, while fruit and vegetable consumption is expected to increase, so is red meat consumption.
The Connection Between Meat and the Environment
According to the study, cutting down on meat and increasing fruit and vegetable intake could not only help decrease global mortality, but also save society trillions in money.
“In our latest research, colleagues and I estimate that changes towards more plant-based diets in line with the WHO’s global dietary guidelines could avert 5m-8m deaths per year by 2050. This represents a 6 to 10% reduction in global mortality,” says Springmann.
Food-related greenhouse gas emissions would also be cut by more than two thirds. In all, these dietary changes would have a value to society of more than US$1 trillion – even as much as US$30 trillion. That’s up to a tenth of the likely global GDP in 2050.”
Plant-Based Diet Benefits
Plant-based diets – from vegetarianism to veganism – focus on increasing the amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while cutting down or eliminating meat, dairy and fish.
According to the USDA, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Plant-based diets can also lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help protect against certain types of cancers, among other health benefits.
How to Ease Into The Diet
When switching to a plant-based diet, you’ll want to be mindful about getting the adequate amount of protein intake. But with the right eating habits, you can maintain a well-balanced diet that’s rich in macronutrients, vitamins and materials.
What Do YOU Think?
Does this make going meatless a more compelling choice? What are some of your favorite veggie-based meals? What are some easy ways to sub meat for vegetables every day? Share your thoughts in the comments below!