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Is vegetarian or vegan food healthier and better for the environment?

  1. If you eat more vegetable and less animal food, it is positive for your health and the environment. But a vegetarian or vegan diet is not automatically the most healthy or sustainable.

Vegetable / vegetarian health benefits

  1. If you eat according to a more vegetable and less animal diet, or a vegetarian diet, it has health benefits. It lowers your blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Whether a vegetarian diet is more beneficial for your health than a diet with more plant-based and less animal-based foods has not been studied. A vegan diet lacks foods that have a beneficial effect on health. This includes fish (reduces the risk of fatal heart disease) and milk and milk products (dairy is associated with a lower risk of diabetes (yogurt) and colon cancer). Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products. That is why vegans are advised to take a vitamin B12 supplement or products fortified with vitamin B12.

Eating less meat is more sustainable

  1. People who eat less meat and dairy produce a lower food footprint and ensure less greenhouse gas emissions and land use. A diet without meat (vegetarian or vegan) results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than the average diet with meat and dairy. Yet a diet without meat and dairy is not automatically the most sustainable in terms of land use. For example, a diet with little meat requires less arable land than a diet without meat. Animals can convert vegetable substances that are inedible to humans into edible proteins. For example, pigs can be fed with residual flows from the food industry (beet pulp, potato peelings and molasses). In addition, part of the Dutch agricultural land is only suitable for livestock (grassland) and not for arable farming. Beef in the Netherlands is partly a by-product of milked-out cows, and is therefore available anyway. Here you will find tips for a more vegetable and less animal diet.

  2. People who eat less meat and dairy produce a lower food footprint and ensure less greenhouse gas emissions and land use. A diet without meat (vegetarian or vegan) results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than the average diet with meat and dairy. Still, a diet without meat and dairy is not automatically the most sustainable in terms of land use. For example, a diet with little meat requires less arable land than a diet without meat. Animals can convert vegetable substances that are inedible to humans into edible proteins. Pigs can be fed, for example, with residual flows from the food industry (beet pulp, potato peelings and molasses). In addition, part of the Dutch agricultural land is only suitable for livestock (grassland) and not for arable farming. Beef in the Netherlands is partly a by-product of milked-out cows, and is therefore available anyway. Here you will find tips for a more vegetable and less animal diet.



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