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14 Interesting Facts about the Vegetarian Influence

Updated on March 13, 2010

Here are some interesting facts about how the vegetarian diet not only influences health, but also the economy and the environment.  As you'll see, even if you just REDUCE the amount of meat that's eaten, that will still have a huge positive impact on life on this planet.

First, a few of the lighter facts:

1. There are different types of vegetarians, including those who refuse to eat anything "with a face":

  • Total Vegetarians eat only plant food. They do not eat any animal foods, including fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey.
  • Vegans not only omit all animal products from their diets, but they also eliminate them from the rest of their life. Vegans use nothing from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk.
  • Lacto-Vegetarians will include dairy products into their diet of plant food.
  • Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products.
  • Pesco-Vegetarians include fish into their diets.
  • Pollo-Vegetarians eat poultry, such as chicken, turkey, and duck.

2. There is NO FIBER content in meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products.

3. A veg*n (vegetarian or vegan) diet is healthier with regards to he following

  • Cancer, colon cancer
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes than do nonvegetarians.
  • Osteoporosis
  • Many, many more

4. British research shows that a child's IQ predicts his likelihood of becoming a vegetarian as a young adult. It can thus be argued: the smarter the child, the more likely he'll eventually shun meat.

5. Vegetarianism has traditionally been linked to the people of ancient India. Even today, Indians make up more than 70 percent of the world's vegetarian population.

Vegetarianism can Save the Planet

6. Growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the United States' water supply and 80% of its agricultural land.

7. In 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization produced a report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options ( This report called for urgent action to remedy the hugely detrimental impact that meat production has on the environment. According to the FAO, the environmental consequences of meat production include land degradation, climate change, air and water pollution, water shortages, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

8. Measured as a percentage of human-related emissions, global meat production produces:

  • 6% of CO2 emissions
  • 65% of nitrous oxide emissions (which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2)
  • 37% of methane emissions (23 times as warming as CO2)
  • 64% of ammonia emissions.

9. The livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport.

10. To produce one pound of meat, it takes the equivalent of 16 pounds of grain (I've read another source that says it's 7 pounds).  If people ate just 10% less meat, JUST 10% LESS, the amount of grain saved could feed the starving of the world.

11. One Chicago University study found that changing to a vegetarian diet was more effective at reducing the carbon footprint than driving a Hybrid.

12. Red Meat and dairy are responsible for nearly half of all Greenhouse Gas emissions from food for an average U.S. household.

13. Replacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs in your diet for one day each week reduces emissions equal to 760 miles per year of driving.

14. Switching to vegetables one day per week cuts the equivalent of driving 1160 miles per year.

* * *

Should man-made global warming NOT be a hoax, it should be understood that the meat industry contributes far more to the CO2 emissions than all the vehicles and factories of the world.  Consider:

  • The majority of the millions upon millions of acres of farmland is used to feed animals, not people (70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing)
  • The amount of water used to grow food to feed the animals (not to mention the many polluting agents)
  • The oil and energy burned to plant, maintain, harvest, and prepare food to feed the animals
  • The energy used to keep the animals alive, and then to slaughter, process, ship, and keep cool or frozen
  • The resultant gas emissions from the massive diary and poultry farms dwarf vehicle emissions
  • Don't forget the human emissions resulting from animal consumption (which is different than that for plants)

If people REALLY cared about the environment and global warming (Al Gore, are you listening), they would spend more time promoting the vegetarian diet instead of trying to pass laws for carbon trading schemes which will only serve to make a number of people VERY wealthy.

Yes, pollution and greenhouse gases are bad, but shouldn't we FIRST spend more time addressing the BIGGER problem?  EVERY conversation about global warming should include the word Vegetarian - not hybrid, high-efficiency light bulbs, or the evil oil industry.

And so, please spread the word: 

Save the Planet - Become a Vegetarian!


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    • profile image

      C.A lover 2 years ago

      Does any of yous know C.A?

    • profile image

      ggg 2 years ago

      Kelvin law

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      Meat is Murder 2 years ago

      Very cool article keep spreading the word! love it and your definitions are right so ignore that comment :)

    • profile image

      Bubbie 3 years ago

      For the love of God, keep writing these arlietcs.

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      happiness is key... 4 years ago

      really? that's cool!

    • profile image

      bob 4 years ago

      interesting :)

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      Nunyo 5 years ago

      Hi, I just wanted to say that your definitions are vegetarian and vegan are wrong. A vegetarian is someone that doesn't eat meat or use any products that kill the animal (leather, gelatin, etc.), but DOES eat other animal products such as milk, eggs, and honey. A vegan is a vegetarian that doesn't eat or use any animal products.

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      Natalia 6 years ago

      Thank you for acknowledging the Al Gore scheme and that one day a week does help. There is such a project in many places in the world now and recently for those in Singapore

    • profile image

      Vegetarian Info team 6 years ago

      Get the real spin on meat at!