Yet another reason to quit meat: A new study has revealed that people who switch to a vegetarian diet save an average of $750 per year on groceries compared to meat-eaters.
The study, published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, compared a seven-day diet plan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate program (which includes animal protein) to a seven-day plant-based diet plan.
Researchers found that the animal protein diet cost $53.11 per week, while the vegetarian diet only cost $38.75. The plant-based diet even included a pricier olive oil instead of the canola oil used in the MyPlate meals. The study compared the cost of recipes, such as the MyPlate diet's Hawaiian pizza and the plant-based diet's Southwest lasagna, and discovered that a vegetarian diet not only costs less, but has more nutritional value—including more servings of fruits and vegetables.
Specifically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-recommended plans cost an extra $14.36 per week, while the vegetarian diet had about 25 more servings of vegetables, 14 more servings of whole grains, and eight more servings of fruit per week.
Although the MyPlate diet beat out the vegetarian diet in terms of protein, both diets were above the recommended daily allowance. According to Time, "undefinedoth meal plans had more than 50 grams of protein daily (the recommended intake for someone weighing 165 pounds), but the meatless diet had less: 60 grams versus 96 in the government plan."
A 2012 Gallup poll found that 5 percent of Americans considered themselves vegetarian and 2 percent considered themselves vegan, a figure that has remained consistent over the past decade. (Vegans don’t eat any animal products, including honey, dairy, and eggs.)
Many have turned to vegetarianism for health reasons, since the diet has been shown to stave off certain chronic health conditions. (One study found that vegetarians were 25 percent less likely to die of heart disease.) What’s more, a vegetarian diet can make it easier to score the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, which can protect the body against many forms of cancer. Vegetarians also have lower body mass indexes (BMI), which can protect against type 2 diabetes.
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