Vegetarian diets harsher on environment than eating some meat: Study

A vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs is harsher on the environment than eating one portion of meat a day, new research suggests.

People looking to do their part in preserving the planet ought to adopt a vegan or “flexitarian” diet that includes eating meat, fish or dairy products only once a day instead of a strictly vegetarian diet that supplements protein with dairy and eggs, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

The greenhouse gas emissions from raising dairy cows for milk, butter and cheese and chicken for eggs is often overlooked as climate change advocates continue to put pressure on the meat industry.

“Dietary shifts don’t have to be as draconian as many people think to have a meaningful impact on the environment,” Keeve Nachman, one of the study’s authors, told The Telegraph.

“Our study found that in the UK, switching to a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy is actually less helpful for reducing greenhouse gas emissions than a diet that includes meat, dairy and eggs for one of three meals, and is exclusively plant-based for the other two meals,” he said.

The research concluded that a two-thirds vegan diet was less harmful to the environment than a dairy-and-eggs heavy vegetarian diet in 95% of the 140 countries studied.

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