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New Study Says Vegetarians Save US$750 a Year
by KindMeal.my, 22 October 2015
New Study Says Vegetarians Save US$750 a Year

Those skeptical of the affordability of meatless diets often use the anecdotal criticism of vegetarian foods “costing too much.” While this may be true if someone chooses to replace animal foods with the same volume of similar, packaged alternatives, the cost of a healthy, meat-free lifestyle that centers on whole foods is actually quite affordable—in fact, it could save you hundreds of dollars per year!

A recent study published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition compared different variables in the governmental My Plate meal plan—which includes meat and/or dairy products at every meal—versus a plant-based meal plan. Both weekly plans included foods that equal 2,000 calories per day. Researchers priced all the ingredients based on the cheapest products available at the retail chain Stop & Shop.

The meat-centric plan costs an extra $14.36 per week, putting the veggie plans in the lead for affordability. But, how about the quality of the foods? The plant-based recipes were found to include 25 more servings of vegetables, 14 more servings of whole grains and 8 more servings of fruit per week—yes, per week. Remember the old food pyramid? The USDA-recommended diet is missing almost 50 servings of those essential foods from the bottom (and most nutrient-dense) part of the pyramid each week!

The kinds of recipes found in the plant-based plan paint a picture of wholesome health and sound rather tasty: Baked Pasta with Chickpeas, Veggie Fried Rice, Cabbage and Carrot Soup, Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad, Vegetable Stuffed Baked Potato, Lentil Soup and more. It’s clear that produce is a central theme in each of the meals, ensuring that any family who eats this way is getting plenty of phytonutrients.

The only “criticism” of the plant-based diet is that it provides 60 grams of protein, versus the 96 grams of the meat-based diet. But how much of a concern are these numbers? For the average person weighing 165 pounds, 50 grams of protein per day is plenty. Plant-based athletes who are more active or looking to pack on some muscle will likely have a higher caloric need than the 2,000 standard and can easily incorporate more plant foods with higher protein content to compensate.

What many people may not know is that there are very real risks associated with consuming too much protein—especially that which comes from animal products. Big-time suppliers of meat and dairy, and the companies who create foods with their products, aren’t eager to pique the public’s awareness about this concern, for obvious reasons. Yet, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine warns that high-protein consumers are at risk for kidney disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer (especially colon cancer).

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