Vegans love to extol the benefits of their diet, and from environmental impact to animal welfare, there are many. But when it comes to helping feed our expanding global population using the land we’ve got here in the US, a vegan diet isn’t the best option, according to a new study from US researchers.
By Kaleigh Rogers | MOTHERBOARD
In fact, continuing to eat some meat would allow American farmlands to feed more people overall, than if everyone switched over to veganism.
Figuring out how to feed an exploding global population without converting ever more swaths of land to agriculture is an ongoing challenge. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates we need to increase food production globally by 60 percent over the next 35 years to meet demand. How America uses its farmland affects not only how secure food is in the US, but it could also impact the availability of food worldwide.
In this context, researchers compared 10 different diets, based on how efficiently they use America’s farmland. The “baseline” diet was modeled off what the average American eats, according to the Department of Agriculture. They compared this to other diets, in which various percentages were either “healthy omnivorous”—calories came from all sources, including meat, plants, eggs and dairy—or vegetarian, which included milk and eggs, but no meat. Three strictly vegetarian diets were also included in the study (egg and dairy, just dairy, and vegan).