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Vegetarians Get More Bang for the Buck

This post originally appeared on The PETA Files.

Two recent studies prove what most of us vegetarians already knew: vegetarian diets are cheaper and more nutritious than meat-based ones.

Two Oklahoma State University professors studying costs and benefits of vegetarian diets found that vegetarian foods cost less to both produce and consume than animal products. For example, the researchers determined that obtaining a gram of protein from the cheapest meat source studied (chicken flesh) costs more than triple the price of obtaining a gram of protein from the most expensive plant-based source studied (peanuts).

And it’s only going to get costlier for carnivores. Cattle futures economists predict that beef prices will skyrocket to record highs in 2012. The U.S. Department of Agriculture concludes that the price of beef will rise more than any other major food group. Meatpackers, retailers, and restaurants all face higher costs, which—you guessed it—get passed on to the consumer.

Another study published in Food, Nutrition & Science and The Journal of the American Dietetic Association compared nutrient intakes of vegetarians and nonvegetarians. Researchers found that the vegetarian group had higher intakes of nutrients, including fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E, and that vegetarian diets in general were very healthy. The American Dietetic Association reports that vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity than meat-eaters are. So not only do vegetarians save animal’s lives, but they save at the register, and at the doctor’s office too. We’ll eat to that.

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  • Jeane Arneau says:

    Hi, this seems very interesting article especially economically, I think that people with financial problems should eat plant products in order to save.
    Bye.

  • heather anne says:

    When talking about from start to finish of what it costs to raise the chicken and kill it for consumption, yeah its probably more expensive than growing nuts or produce, but i agree when at the market and shopping for meat alternatives, like pre-made meals, burgers, etc, they do seem pricey. I guess what you have to realize is that you shouldn’t be eating pre-made meals, frozen/fridge burgers etc all the time any way, the key is moderation, balancing between tofu, seitan, home-made burgers, nuts, and all other protein sources. I believe with the growing popularity of more ethical, alternative, eating and living lifestyles that the prices may come down some. Without a doubt, whatever it takes to live a life that doesn’t create, promote, or continue the pain and suffering of all living creatures, is the life that everyone should strive for. Baby steps, we can improve our world and lives on decision/choice at a time. My heart and thanks goes out to all those already living the lifestyle and to those who are trying to make a change in their own time. What is that famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”

  • Cynthia says:

    I live in Brazil, and here is very difficult to find a vegan food.. substitutes for cow cheese i never seen. The fastfood ‘subway’ the sandwich vegetarian is more expensive than chicken sandwich, it hasn’t logical. The brasilian soy milk is horrible and the importeds are better but veeery expensive.

  • Kristian says:

    I think what they are talking about here is not the meat substitutes that come prepackaged (I’m a huge fan of them, having grown up in rural Texas, they’re a comfort after eating so much meat for so long) but rather the straight vegan raw stuff. For instance, they say that a gram of protein from chicken is more expensive than a gram of protein from peanuts.

    I do agree that the prepared alternatives for cheese and meat are a bit pricey.

  • Ryan says:

    I changed my diet from totally carnivorous to completely vegan over 4 years ago, and I don’t miss a thing.

    Following a vegan diet is EASY.

  • katcha18 says:

    @Anna, Hi I have been a vegetarian for 19 years and vegan for two and it is cheaper if you avoid the overprocessed stuff which all those vegan pseudo-cheese and meats are. Just because it is vegan does not mean it is healthy. Don’t get me wrong I used to eat them too but now I despise them almost as much as real meat etc. I try to eat as little processed food as possible-buy most of my “stash” in bulk, organic beans, barley, wild rice etc are rich in protein & fiber & cost almost nothing.Dark leafy greens have protein too, add some yams to the mix and you have a delicious and nutricious pretty cheap meal. It takes little bit more preparation I admit that but your body will thank you and your vallet too :o). Good luck on your vegan path.

  • Anna says:

    More ethical – yes. But I’ve been a vegetarian for a while (and vegan for a year) and really EVERYTHING that I eat is more expensive than the meat alternative. (And I live in New York – not a vegetarian-hating farm town) and I just don’t see how this could be true at all unless we are talking about not having to pay $3.99 to add grilled chicken to your salad. Vegan substitutes for cow cheese and stuff are especially expensive.

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