National Academy of Sciences Study Veg*n Diets


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Feb 24, 2021
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National Academy of Sciences Study on the Effects of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

This just came in my inbox from the group Million Dollar Vegan. It is an abstract of a study by the National Academy Sciences on reduced meat, vegetarian, and vegan diets on health and the environment. The entire abstract is well worth reading.

Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change

Marco Springmann, H. Charles J. Godfray, Mike Rayner, and Peter Scarborough
PNAS April 12, 2016 113 (15) 4146-4151; first published March 21, 2016; Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change
Edited by David Tilman, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, and approved February 9, 2016 (received for review November 22, 2015)

Our analysis indicates that dietary changes toward fewer animal and more plant-based foods are associated with significant benefits due to reductions in diet-related mortality and GHG emissions. Changes in the consumption of red meat, fruits, and vegetables and in total energy intake could result in reductions in total mortality of 6–10%, compared with a reference diet in 2050. This estimate is likely an underestimate of the total impact that the dietary patterns studied here could have on diet-related mortality because we were not able to model the health consequences of changes in the consumption of all food groups. For example, diets with fewer animal-sourced foods typically include more nuts and whole grains (30, 31), which evidence suggests have health benefits and are likely to increase the number of avoided deaths

We found that about half of the global avoided deaths occurred because of the consumption of less red meat and that the other half was due to a combination of increased fruit and vegetable consumption and reductions in total energy intake (and the associated decreases in the fraction of people overweight and obese).

The greatest improvement in per capita risk reductions occurred in Western high- and middle-income countries due to reduced red meat consumption and lower energy intakes.