DietsNutritionPlant Based Diet

How a plant based diet can save our planet!

We already know that switching to a whole foods plant based diet can have tremendous benefits on your health.  Let’s look at some of the amazing benefits a plant-based diet can have on the environment.

Environmental Impact of Animal-Based Diets

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that red meat (beef, lamb) causes 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as vegetables and grains.
  • Per EWG, livestock feed in the U.S. requires 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer each year across 149 million acres of cropland.
  • Per Professor David Pimentel of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Science, the consumption of grains by the 7 billion livestock in the U.S. is equivalent to 5X the grains consumed by the entire U.S. population!
  • 20% of overall U.S. methane generation comes from cattle.
  • ONE gallon of milk requires 1000 gallons of water.
  • According to PEW Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, 87% of all fresh water usage is spent on agriculture.
  • Per US Environmental Protection Agency: 70% of water pollution in U.S. rivers, lakes is due to pollution from animal farms

Environmental Impact of Plant-Based Diets:

  • Greenhouse gas emission
    • 63% lower with Vegetarian diets and 70% lower with Vegan diets than non-vegetarian diets.
  • Widespread adoption of a vegan diet could help avoid >8 million deaths by 2050
  • Widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet could save 7.3 million lives.
  • Changing to a vegetarian diet could save $1 trillion annually through decreased health care costs and lost productivity.
  • 1 kilogram of protein produced from beans versus beef requires:
    • 18X less land
    • 10X less water
    • 9X less fuel
    • 12X less fertilizer
    • 10X less pesticide

References:

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Dr. Sean

Sean Hashmi, MD, MS, FASN is a practicing Nephrologist and Obesity Medicine Specialist in Southern California. He is founding director of SELFPrinciple.org, a non-profit, non-commercial site focused on evidence based nutrition, health, and wellness.
Dr. Hashmi graduated from the University of California, San Diego Medical School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at UCLA-Olive View Medical Center followed by a fellowship in Nephrology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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