What we eat is personal. Our diets are inexorably linked with our lifestyles, preferences and emotions, and few people like to be told what to do when it comes to food.However, it is impossible to ignore that thousands of people across the world are embracing a new way of eating. The UK is leading the way, with 600,000 vegans and counting and more veganism-related internet searches during 2019 than anywhere else in the world.1
If you’re thinking of adopting a vegan diet, the decision is yours alone. So, too, are the reasons behind it. To help inform your decision, here are major five reasons why people go vegan.
1. Overall health49% of people in the UK surveyed who currently ate meat but were interested in cutting down on their meat consumption said they would do so for health reasons.2
This is a growing concern for most of us. But did you know exactly how negatively impactful farming is on the environment?According to a 2018 study conducted at Oxford University, ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’. It also found that plant-based diets reduce the emissions involved in food production processing, packaging, and transport by up to 73% compared to non-plant-based diets.3
3. Weight lossWith obesity at an all-time high, (around 1 in every 4 adults in the UK is obese with a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 30 or higher)4, many of us are looking for ways to get our excess body fat down. Veganism could be the answer. Vegans have been shown to have the lowest BMI of all when compared to meat-eaters, vegetarians and pescetarians5. This could be because the vegan diet includes many nutrient-dense, filling foods which are low in saturated fat. This includes beans, legumes, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. These foods are also high in fibre, which also helps keep you full and prevents overeating, which can lead to obesity over time.
4. Animal welfare
Don’t let the depictions of happy cows, pigs and sheep on food packets fool you. It is a harsh fact that millions of animals are bred in captivity, to live joyless lives before being slaughtered for meat.
Thanks to the rise of social media, a light has been shone on the exploitation of animals and the public can see for the first time the reality of the meat and dairy industries.In the UK, 2.6 million cattle, 950 million poultry birds, 10 million pigs and 14.5 million sheep and lambs are slaughtered every year6. The process is designed with profit margins in mind, not animal welfare, and is usually painful and degrading to the animals.
Meat is expensive. This is especially true of organic, ‘sustainable’ meat, which many people choose in an effort to consume meat more ethically. Two high-quality steaks will set you back around £20, which would be enough to buy a cupboard-full of vegan food.
With cheese also costly, it might be time to see how much you could save for you and your family by switching to a vegan diet.
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Last updated: 24 April 2020