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Nutripro: More Plants on Plate—Why People Are Eating More Plants

Thursday, November 15, 2018

There are multiple reasons to follow a plant-based diet.

Like many lifestyle choices, there are multiple reasons people might choose to follow a plant-based diet. Understanding these reasons can help you connect with your guests and shape your menu around their preferences.

Health

Plant-based foods can be a good source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and even healthy oils and protein. Some people reduce or eliminate animal products from their diet because of dietary intolerances (like dairy), cardiovascular health, or general well-being. What’s more, a study showed that after only 48 hours of consuming a vegan diet, people experienced a significant improvement in health indicators, like blood cholesterol, blood lipids, and insulin.1

Affordability

Another factor for some who choose to eat less meat is cost. For example, dried beans and rice are a cost-effective alternative to high-priced meat products, and they are also a good source of protein.

Ethics

Others choose not to eat meat because of ethical reasons and their interest in animal welfare. A common consumer concern is about the uncontrolled use of antibiotics and their health implications. Many people are also concerned about the living conditions and general treatment of the animals themselves2. And some don’t believe that humans have the right to kill animals for food.3

Religion

Several religions advise their followers to avoid eating meat or animal-based products. For example, Hindus and Buddhists have a strong tradition of vegetarianism, Jainists follow a vegan diet, and Seventh-Day Adventists promote lacto-ovo-vegetarianism.

The Environment

Still another reason that people limit meat from their diets is related to the environmental impact. With 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface covered with livestock, raising cattle generates more of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming than transportation4. It’s also associated with other environmental concerns including deforestation and low scrutiny of air and water pollution on surrounding communities.2

Sensory and Preference

Finally, there are some people who simply don’t enjoy eating animal products due to their characteristic taste, texture, or smell.

Sources: Colleen Forgarty Draper et al. A 48-hour diet challenge in healthy women and men; FAIRR Sustainable Protein DD09, Feb. 2018; Lea E. & Worsley A., 2001. Influences on meat consumption in Australia. Appetite, 36, 127–136; 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization study. https://news.un.org.