In many parts of the world, the amount of meat and dairy we eat is often more than the recommended nutrition we need. Rebalancing our meals with more vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and beans and less meat is one of the most important ways we can reduce our combined impact on the environment.
Buying less meat means less land clearing, fertilizer use, burping cattle, and greenhouse gas emissions. It also sends a message to grocery stores and producers that we want change. It’s a simple choice you can make every day, with a big impact.
Be healthier, save money and cut carbon pollution simply by changing what you eat.
A recent review suggested that plant-based diets may prove to be a useful nutritional strategy for lifespan extension in part because they tend to be naturally low in the amino acid methionine.
Agriculture is estimated to be the proximate driver for around 80% of deforestation worldwide.
If 50–75% of the world’s population restricts their calorie intake and meat consumption, a healthy, plant-rich diet could be one of the most impactful solutions at a total of 64.8–91.5 gigatons avoided emissions.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas with a 100-year global warming potential 28 times that of CO2.
Plant-based proteins can be cheaper than animal-based ones. For example, based on average US retail prices in 2013, the price per gram of protein ranged from 0.9 cents for dried lentils, 1.1 cents for wheat flour, 1.2 cents for dried black beans, and 2.3 cents for dried white rice, to 2.7 cents for eggs, 2.9 cents for milk, 3.1 cents for fresh whole chicken, and 4.4 cents for ground beef.
Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat decreases the risk of coronary heart diseases.
The average daily adult protein requirement is 56g for a man and 46g for a woman but many people consume much more than they need. Average daily adult protein requirement 51g. Average US daily protein consumption 83g.
Which Foods Have the Lowest Carbon Footprint?
With the entire supply chain taken into account, greenhouse gas emissions from plant-based commodities are 10 to 50 times lower than from most animal-based products.
Impact metric calculations
To determine the carbon emission reduction estimates related to adopting a plant-based diet, the following calculation was performed:
(# of meals/week) x (# of people eating with user) x (weeks/month) x (17 g protein / meal) x [(kg CO2e/100 g meat protein) - (kg CO2e/100 g pulses protein)] / (100g to g unit conversion) = kg CO2e reduction / group / month
For detailed calculations, references and assumptions, please see our Methodology.