Health and Environmental Benefits of Eating
More Plant-Based Meats
Health and Environmental Benefits of Eating More Plant-Based Meats
Wondering how much of a difference eating less meat and more veggies will really make? Read on.
By Meghan Rabbitt
These days, most of us are on a quest toward better health—and that includes keeping the health of our planet in mind. We count calories and steps. We tote reusable bags to the grocery store and buy energy-efficient light bulbs. Our awareness of the positive impact decisions like these make is a powerful driver of new, healthier habits.
Yet when it comes to our diet, there’s a lot we still don’t realize about how one simple change—forgoing animal protein in favor of plant-based meats—can make a big difference when it comes to our wellbeing and the environment’s. Here are four big benefits of eating more plant-based meats that’ll inspire you to work more of these health-boosting and environmentally-conscious sources of protein into your daily meals.
Plant-based proteins can help you lose weight.
There’s a lot of hype about ketogenic diets right now, with plenty of people advocating that high-fat, high-protein, high-meat consumption diets are great for both weight loss and overall health. But there’s scientific evidence showing that following a plant-based diet is associated with weight-loss. When you follow a plant-based diet, you’ll reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories you consume, says Lisa Richards, a Vancouver, Canada-based nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet. “This can ultimately reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions, especially as they relate to obesity.”
Eating less animal protein lowers your risk of disease.
Red meats such as beef, lamb, and pork are high in saturated fats that raise cholesterol, inflammation, and risk of disease. “Replacing saturated fats from animal products with healthier, plant-based options can lower blood cholesterol and ultimately reduce cholesterol, inflammation, and lower your risk of disease,” says Lynell Ross, a certified health and wellness coach, nutritionist, and National Diabetes Prevention Program Instructor.
Plant-based meats are a good way to fight climate change.
Raising and slaughtering animals for food causes more climate change than every plane, train, and automobile combined, says Ross. You read that right: Producing meat releases more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. “If everyone in the United States switched from animal meat to plant-based meals just one day a week, we would protect the Earth from tons of carbon emissions,” says Ross.
It’s also a good step toward protecting our environment.
Did you know that upwards of 63 billion fish caught globally every year are thrown out? Or that a whopping 91% of deforestation is happening for grazing livestock and growing feed for them? Scientists at the United Nations have said that raising and killing animals for food is “one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.” Choosing plant-based meat alternatives are a good first step toward solving this problem.