Eating less meat could save 5.1 million lives every year

And loads of money

Perhaps you are one of the few yet to watch Cowspiracy; perhaps you need yet more evidence that a plant-based diet is the righteous path.

Here it is: a new study finds that eating less meat could prevent 5.1 million deaths a year by 2050, could save billions of pounds, and could cut global emissions. Those are compelling findings.

The research was carried out by academics at the University of Oxford. Researchers modelled the implications of four separate diets.

It modelled one “business as usual” scenario; one that subscribed to the global guidelines on fruit and vegetables, and limits on red meat, sugar and calories; one vegetarian model; and one vegan diet.

The research found that eating according to global guidelines could avoid 5.1 million deaths a year by 5050, and in a vegan world, there would be 8.1 million fewer deaths per year.

A diet that plays by the guidelines would cut food-related emissions by 29 per cent. A vegetarian diet would cut them by 63 per cent and a vegan diet would cut them by 70 per cent.

“We do not expect everybody to become vegan,” said one scientist involved.

“But climate change impacts of the food system will be hard to tackle and likely require more than just technological changes. Adopting healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets can be a large step in the right direction.”

Granted – to do it, we’ll need to increase our consumption of fruit and vegetables by 25 per cent and cut out red meat consumption by 56 per cent. And we need to consume 15 per cent fewer calories.

No biggie.