Researchers at University of Minnesota and Oxford University have given more indications that a plant-based diet is better for the environment. Researchers found that red meat was 35 times more damaging to the environment than a bowl of vegetables. The study also found that foods that were healthier for humans, were healthier for the environment.

The environmental impact of meat versus vegetables is staggering. A serving size of meat compared to a serving size of vegetables is linked to 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions. It also takes 100 times the amount of land as consuming vegetables. Unprocessed red meat has twice the water impact of nuts.

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According to the study, “Producing a serving of processed red meat has the second highest mean impact on acidification, GHG emissions, and land use and the third highest mean impact for eutrophication.” Processed and unprocessed red meat was also linked to health problems in humans.

The study concluded that a diet that removes unprocessed and processed red meat and focuses on plants, nuts and grains is better for the environment. The same foods that are better for the environment are also better for human health. As said in the paper, “instead increasing consumption of whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil and other vegetable oils high in unsaturated fats—foods that are consistently associated with decreased disease risk and low environmental impacts—would have multiple health and environmental benefits globally.”

Lead author Michael Clark told the Guardian, “Choosing better, more sustainable diets is one of the main ways people can improve their health and help protect the environment.” He said that replacing meat with plants would make the biggest difference.

Curious about benefits of a plant based diet and eating more veggies? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, plant-based/vegan and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

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