Vegetarian or Vegan

02/06/17
 

The Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

The average American consumes about 270 pounds of meat a year, making the United States the country with one of the highest meat consumptions per person in the world. We know of our love for meat, and most of us know at least about some connection between meat consumption and our health, particularly cardiovascular, or heart health. So how much healthier is a diet that is much more – or entirely – plant based, that avoids animal meat or animal products all together? New studies are out that are looking at the effect of plant-based diets on our health, both for vegetarian as well as vegan diets.

Guest:

Vandana Sheth,

, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Los Angeles, CA

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3 comments

  1. Stefhan

    The 270 pound statistic is misleading. That number comes from the USDA meat availability chart, which includes the whole carcass (bones, kidney, attached internal fat, etc). This number is based on what’s available, not what’s consumed. Actual consumption is a lot lot less on average around 135 pounds per year which breaks down to 70 lbs red meat, 55 lbs poultry and 10 lbs seafood/fish. In the US, red meat consumption is down the past 35 years while consumption of chicken is up significantly and fish is up a little bit.

    So if you’re going to cite numbers, use numbers that actually reflect actual consumption.

    Reply
    • Kristen Ponger

      Hello Stefhan,
      Thank you for your comment, we truly appreciate your feedback. The number we used in the show did not come from the USDA meat availability chart, but from NPR, National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters
      NPR’s chart source is stated as “Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2010, Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent, 02 June 2010, FAOSTAT on-line statistical service, FAO, Rome”

      That said, your comment has led us to do additional research and, as so often, there are other numbers being published as well, so your point is valid and well taken. “Meat consumption has been up in 2015 to nearly 200 lbs,” one other credible statistic states, so true meat consumption and/or availability in the U.S. is 200 lbs. to 270 lbs., depending on the sources used.

      Our main point for the show is that a mostly or entirely plant based diet has proven to be most beneficial for our health. We are not advocating for or against meat consumption, as you heard during the episode, but are cautioning that the U.S. is one of the most meat consuming countries in the world.

      Thank you again for listening to our show and your comment and care!
      The AOC Team

      Reply
  2. shawn wong

    Hi Helge,
    Love your show and listen to it regularly. Today I listened to the Vegetarian or Vegan podcast. I’m all for eating more plants, especially vegetables, but I was wondering why you didn’t ask Vandana if the participants in the study ate grass-fed or conventionally raised meats? As you know there is a big difference in the quality of these meats, and the source of the meat may influence the result of the scientific study (see Greener Pastures-Union of Concerned Scientists) . Do you have a link to the “New Study” she referenced? Would love to read in more detail so if you can pass along or send me a link that would be great! Thanks!!

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