In recent years there has been growing awareness of the environmental, health, and ethical benefits of plant-based diets. As a result, more and more people are choosing to go completely or largely plant-based. However, much of the discussion surrounding plant-based diets can be confusing and conflicting, so it can be hard to know what to believe. To help clear up this confusion, let’s take a look at what studies have to say about the benefits of a plant-based diet.
A 2012 study published in the journal Nature found that a global shift to plant-based diets could reduce global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 70%. This reduction is larger than any other proposed change in human behavior. In addition to reducing emissions, a plant-based diet can also reduce water use and land degradation. A 2019 study published in the journal Science found that a global shift to plant-based diets could reduce global water use by as much as 50%.
Numerous studies have found that plant-based diets are associated with a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of obesity, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes. A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that following a vegetarian diet was associated with a 25% reduced risk of developing heart disease. A 2018 meta-analysis of 15 studies found that a vegetarian diet was associated with a 22% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
The health benefits of plant-based diets are particularly pronounced for those who consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables were 40% less likely to die from any cause, compared to those who weren’t following such a diet.
The production of animal-based products contributes to animal cruelty, environmental destruction, and the displacement of native people from their land. A plant-based diet can help to reduce or eliminate all of these negative impacts. A 2018 study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that a plant-based diet can reduce an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50%, compared to a diet that includes animal products.
A plant-based diet offers a variety of benefits, both for individuals and for the environment. Studies have found that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water resources, and reduce animal cruelty. For those looking to improve their health and reduce their environmental impact, a plant-based diet is an excellent choice.