Study: Plant-Based Diets up to 84% more Environmentally Friendly than Omnivorous Diets

vegan nutrition plant-based food
© photoschmidt - stock-adobe.com

One of the main reasons why many consumers want to become vegan is the comparatively high eco-friendliness of a plant-based diet. A new study published in “The Lancet Planetary Health” shows that this argument is supported by scientific evidence. The study shows a direct link between human health, environmental sustainability and safe food sources. The results of the study suggest that a vegan diet pollutes the environment 42-84 percent less than a meat-based diet.

The study examined the environmental impact of the current food system in six categories: land use, water consumption, climate change, substances that cause respiratory problems, eutrophication of seawater and eutrophication of fresh water. With the exception of water consumption, the plant-based diet is up to 84 percent less harmful to the environment and health than one that includes animal products.

Laborant untersucht invitro-Fleisch im Labor
Clean Meat is being cultivated and manufactured in the laboratory from real animal cells © Alexander Raths – stock.adobe.com

The research team sees Clean Meat as a potential environmentally-friendly alternative to meat. “Clean meat“, also called cultured or laboratory-grown meat, has the major advantage that it has a far milder impact on the environment than its traditional counterpart.

Based on these results, the research team is appealing to US policymakers to include greater consideration of environmental sustainability in public dietary guidelines in the future. This is also of increased social interest, since current meat-based consumption habits affect not just the environment, but also human health. In this respect, the role of politics is to draw attention to existing risks in order to tackle future environmental and health challenges. Recommendations for a healthier diet will only fulfil their purpose if they take into account the indirect health risks caused by environmental changes in connection with the production and consumption of food.