New research suggests vegan diets could feed the world and save the planet

Read Time:   |  15th September 2016

According to researchers at Oxford University, worldwide veganism would also save some $700 billion to $1 trillion per year on health care, reduce global mortality by 6-10%, and cut food-related emissions by 70 percent.

New research suggests vegan diets could feed the world and save the planet

Recent analyses have highlighted that if humans reduced the amount of animal-sourced foods in our diets, there would be numerous health and environmental benefits. This new study, carried out by researchers at Oxford University, hypothesises that transitioning toward more plant-based diets could reduce global mortality by 6–10% and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29–70%.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mark the first time that researchers have looked into the impact of a worldwide vegan diet on health and climate change. They discovered that changing diets may be even more effective than technological mitigation options for avoiding climate change, and may be essential to avoid negative environmental impacts such as major agricultural expansion and global warming of more than 2 °C while ensuring access to safe and affordable food for an increasing global population.

What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the environment we all share. The choices we make about the food we eat affect our health and have major ramifications for the state of the environment. The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, of which up to 80% are associated with livestock production, and reductions in meat consumption and other dietary changes would ease pressure on land use and reduce emissions.

And it’s not just the planet that could be saved by going vegan, as high consumption of red and processed meat and low consumption of fruits and vegetables have been proven to contribute to substantial early mortality. Without targeted dietary changes, the obesity crisis, with over a billion people currently overweight or obese, is expected to worsen as a growing and more wealthy global population adopts diets resulting in more greenhouse gas emissions, and an increase in chronic, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) associated with high body weight and unhealthy diets.
Source: PNAS

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