How much would giving up meat help the environment?
IT IS NO secret that steaks and chops are delicious. But guzzling them incurs high costs for both carnivorous humans and the planet. Over half of adults in both America and Britain say they want to reduce their meat consumption, according to Mintel, a market-research firm. Whether they will is a different matter. The amount of meat that Americans and Britons consume per day has risen by 10% since 1970, according to figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
People who want to eat less livestock—but who can’t quite bring themselves to exchange burgers for beans—might take inspiration from two recent academic papers. A study published this week by scientists at Oxford University and the University of Minnesota estimates both the medical and environmental burdens of having an extra serving per day of various food types. The health findings were sobering. Compared with a typical Western adult of the same age who eats an average diet, a person who guzzles an additional 50g of processed red meat (about two rashers of bacon) per day has a 41% higher chance of dying in a given year.