Advantages of Vegetarian Diet Choices

by Webmaster,

There are several very significant advantages of vegetarian diet choices.

  • Easier preparation
    Vegetarian diets can be simple and much easier to prepare, requiring less time and effort.

  • Obtaining nutrients first-hand
    All or almost all the nutrients needed by humans and animals are made by plants and micro-organisms, not by animals. By eating animal products, we are actually getting those nutrients second-hand - why not get the same nutrients from their natural original sources? And, without all the fat and cholesterol, too!

  • Healthier
    This is the most important among the advantages of vegetarian diet choices. Vegetarian diets have been proven in various studies to be healthier than diets which contain meat.

    One would also be less exposed to the various dangers presented with eating animal food products - bacteria, viruses, parasites, PCBs, mercury, drugs, antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, steroids, etc.

    The health advantages of vegetarian diet choices are elaborated on the page discussing the health benefits of vegetarian diet consumption.

  • Cheaper
    Next up is the financial advantages of vegetarian diet choices. Vegetables and other plant foods are usually cheaper than meat. Although organic plant foods may sometimes be expensive, they are still priced lower than organic meats.

  • Compassion for animals, animal rights, ethical and humanitarian reasons
    Another important point among the advantages of vegetarian diet choices is that animals do not have to suffer and / or die to become our food.

    Besides the fact that animals have to be killed to become our meat, they are often also raised and transported under very inhumane conditions. This is a very real issue, and strongly reflects how we view animals - are they our friends and peers, or resources to be made used of?

    You would be able to better understand the humanitarian advantages of vegetarian diet choices if you have been to farms. There, you would have seen that the animals are treated like prisoners, often bred in filthy and cramped conditions, with little or no opportunity for movement, fresh air and sunshine.

    The compassionate advantages of vegetarian diet choices are further highlighted by undercover investigations carried out by organizations such as the Human Society of the United States, which exposes the cruelty of the meat industry. The following links provide a couple of heart-wrenching videos.
    (scroll down to picture below the heading, "A Demand for Action")
    Update: Unfortunately, as of Dec 2010, this page has since been taken down.

    The truth is, animals run. They squirm. They scream, yelp, and cry. They feel pain.

    How about fish and seafood? For some time now, scientific studies have shown that fish are sentient and do reflect responses similar to humans when in pain. In 2003, the journal Nature reported that fishes experience pain when hooked, particularly since they rely on the sensitivity of their mouths to find food.

    If there is no more plant food left on Earth, and we humans had no choice but to eat animals, then I think there can be no arguments. But we have an abundance of food choices in the plant world. Can we then justify all the mass murders taking place every single day, as well as the massive environmental damage caused by the animal food industry (discussed below)?

    Worse, humans, unlike carnivorous animals in nature, are greedy creatures. Animals eat to satisfy their hunger, and that's it. Humans, on the other hand, eat and eat and eat. We eat till we become obese and die from related degenerative diseases. That causes even more unnecessary killing of animals.

    It has been estimated that 50 billion animals are slaughtered in farms every year to become human food. That's a huge number.

    The ethical advantages of vegetarian diet choices mean that all this killing does not have to take place.

    Just a thought - in the first place, are we wired up and meant to be vegetarians? Click here for a discussion on that area.

  • More people can be fed, and world hunger issues can be alleviated; less strain is also placed on the Earth's resources

    Many people believe that going vegetarian can help alleviate world hunger issues - it is propagated that it takes a lot of grains, water and resources to raise livestock to provide meat and other animal food products for human consumption. These food and water can actually be used directly for human benefit, especially for those living in third world countries.

    One key point is that commercially raised animals are fed, and not grazed. They thus consume a lot of food which could otherwise have been used to feed humans.

    If the above argument is correct, then there are significant social and economic advantages of vegetarian diet choices which can be reaped.

    The numbers certainly support it.

    The United States Department of Agriculture said that, to grow the food (crops, grains) needed to feed farmed animals raised for meat, the following had to be used:

    * Almost 50% of the US's water supply

    * About 80% of its agricultural land

    Further, farmed animals in the US consumed:

    * 90% of its soy crops

    * 80% of its corn crops

    * 70% of its total grains, including wheat and corn

    In addition, it is estimated that about one-third of irrigation water in California is used to produce food for cattle used to yield dairy products.

    Alan Durning, director of Northwest Environment Watch in Seattle, adds that nearly 40% of the world's grains are fed to livestock.

    These numbers tally with a study carried out by Gussow in 1994, which stated that 38% of total grain production worldwide is fed to livestock, while the corresponding figure in the US is 70%.

    In addition, The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook (1995) stated that it takes more than 4,000 gallons of water to produce just one day's worth of food for the average meat-eater. This is more than 3 times the amount for ovo-lacto-vegetarians, and more than 13 times the amount for vegans.

    These are staggering numbers!!

    The potential advantages of vegetarian diet choices are clear - better food distribution, lower food prices, less hungry people.

  • Less pollution and strain can be placed on the Earth's environment

    Without a shadow of a doubt, the production of meat and other animal food products is causing tremendous environmental damage. Again, the advantages of vegetarian diet choices are clear - all this harming of the Earth does not have to take place.

    Overall facts
    The meat industry, which includes its modern farming methods, apparently contributes greatly to air pollution (including the emission of greenhouse gases - even more, it seems, than the entire transportation industry!), water pollution, land degradation, climate changes as well as a loss of biodiversity in nature.

    A 2006 United Nations initiative concluded that "the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global".

    It is estimated that about 390 gallons of water is used to produce every pound of beef. Almost 10 times the amount of energy is needed to produce and transport livestock, as compared to vegetables.

    Alan Durning, director of Northwest Environment Watch in Seattle, said that the wastes from various animal-raising facilities pollute water supplies. Animal farming also releases millions of tons of methane - a gas which contributes to global warming - from animal manure into the atmosphere. Further, overgrazing by livestock has reduced much arid land into desert.

    As you can see, the advantages of vegetarian diet choices would not only be reaped by humans, but would greatly benefit Mother Earth as well. More is elaborated below.

    Air pollution and resultant global warming
    On the subject of global warming, besides the methane released by animals directly into the atmosphere, let's also not forget the large amount of resources used to house, slaughter, package, store and then transport all that meat to different parts of the world - that's a lot of pollution produced.

    It has been said that the production of animal food products contribute more to global warming than all the transport vehicles we use - land vehicles, ships and airplanes - combined.

    The advantages of vegetarian diet choices thus include cleaner air, less global warming, and less climate change, among others.

    Waste production, water pollution and resultant spread of diseases
    Estimates indicate that very large livestock farms produce about 5 tons of animal manure per person in the US. In a single day, one hog farm apparently generates as much raw waste as 12,000 people. In a year, a big egg farm would produce waste to fill 1,400 dump trucks. These wastes pollute rivers, lakes and other water bodies, promoting the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.

    Another of the advantages of vegetarian diet choices - less waste produced, and cleaner waters.

    Inefficient use of energy and resources
    In general, the production of animal food is a lot less efficient than the production of plant foods.

    One theory (trophic dynamics) states that, in order to feed a certain number of meat-eaters, it takes 10 (yes, ten!) times as much plant foods to feed the animals which are being raised for food, as it would take to feed the same number of people who are vegetarians.

    A study by Gussow in 1994 also stated that 1 pound of pork, which only provides between 1000 and 2000 calories, actually takes about 14,000 calories to produce in the US.

    This point had been explained in more detail above, under the heading of 'alleviating world hunger issues'.

    The advantages of vegetarian diet choices here are the more efficient use of energy and thus energy conservation.

    Land degradation and soil erosion; resultant loss of biodiversity
    It is estimated that, for each pound of animal food products - meat, poultry, milk and eggs - produced, about 5 pounds of topsoil is lost from farm fields.

    Gussow's study in 1994 also estimated that, since 1970, 20 million hectares of tropical forest in South America have been converted to cattle pasture, greatly diminishing the biodiversity on the continent.

    The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook (1995) said that, because of soil erosion, the US is losing about 4 million acres of cropland each year. The loss that is directly attributed to raising livestock is estimated to be about 85%.

    Thus, advantages of vegetarian diet choices here are the conservation of forests and good quality land and soil, as well as the preservation of nature's biodiversity.

    Many of the above figures are quite staggering, even alarming. The environmental impact of meat-eating would be much less of an issue, or perhaps even no issue at all, if we only ate small amounts of meat, instead of the large amounts that we do. Of course, if most of us turned vegetarian, the problem would be greatly alleviated.

    Let us all, in our own little ways, play our part to help reap the advantages of vegetarian diet choices. Every little bit counts.

    If you are interested in reading up more on the environment impact of the meat industry, you may want to check out the 2006 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, titled "Livestock's Long Shadow - Environmental Issues and Options". It is available at

    To read about the various reasons why people become vegetarians, click here.

    For more information on the health benefits of vegetarian diets, click here.

    For a discussion on whether humans are actually wired up to be vegetarians, click here.

    There are many advantages of vegetarian diet choices. Which advantages of vegetarian diets do you best identify with?

    Read More: More on Vegetarianism | Understanding Nutrition and its Importance | Nutrition Health Articles - Foods, Diets, Supplements, Nutrients and more | Information on some Herbs | Favorite Herbs, Herbals Formulas and Foods | Natural Health Supplements - What to Consider | Home Page | Site Search

    Being a vegetarian does not have to be difficult. In fact, it should be simple, healthful and fun. Meals can be delicious, too. Click here for a step-by-step guide to a vegetarian lifestyle, which will help you to make a simple transition to a healthier diet.

    Also, if you wish to learn how to lose weight quickly and healthily with simple, cheap and easy vegetarian meal plans, click here.

    And if you love Chinese food or wish to learn healthy, delicious, natural, gluten-free Chinese vegetarian recipes which you can easily prepare at home, click here.

    Vegetarian-related Pages

    Introduction | What is a Vegetarian? | What Do Vegetarians Eat? | Different Types of Vegetarians | Pros & Cons | Why People Become Vegetarians - the reasons | Advantages of Vegetarian Diet Choices | Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diet Consumption | Vegetarian Diet Disadvantage - a discussion | Becoming a Vegetarian - does it suit humans better? | Being Vegetarian | Going Vegetarian Really isn't That Difficult | Challenges of Being a Vegetarian | How to Become a Vegetarian | Tips to Become Vegetarian | Nutrition Issues | Thoughts on Vegetarian Nutrition - is it adequate and complete? | Vegetarian Diet Health Concerns - are there nutritional deficiencies? | Vegetarian Protein - is there enough, and is it complete? | High Protein Vegetarian Diet - some thoughts | Planning a Diet | What's a Healthy Vegetarian Diet? | Achieving a Balanced Vegetarian Diet | Formulating a Vegetarian Diet Plan | Vegetarian Food Pyramid - details & discussion | Vegetarian Daily Diet - some ideas | A Right Diet for Vegetarians - are you on one? | More Information | Vegetarian Statistics and Studies | Vegetarian Quotes - for fun, information & inspiration | Vegetarian Websites, Books, Videos & Resources | List of some Famous Vegetarians

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