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Research: 'Vegetarianism is most efficient diet'

If the world's population continues to grow, we will have to overhaul our system of food production within a few decades. Some American researchers investigated what the most efficient diet is and arrived at vegetarianism. It is striking: of the ten dietary patterns studied, veganism came in only fifth.

If we want to continue feeding the world's growing population, food production will have to increase by 60% over the next 35 years. In a study published in Elementa, American researchers looked for the easiest way to do this. The researchers compared ten different eating patterns with each other to find out which offers the most food security.

Types of farmland

American soil is capable of feeding 807 million people on a lacto-vegetarian (where dairy is still on the menu) diet. Before ovo-vegetarianism, where eggs are still eaten, that number was 787 million. In third place is a healthy diet in which little meat is eaten (only 20% of meals): this still accounts for 769 million people. Veganism is in fifth place and at the very bottom dangles the current average American way of eating.

Their calculations showed that more people could eat if they ate less meat, but also that there was a limit: more people could be fed on a balanced diet that still included some meat than on plant-based products alone. But the absolute winner is vegetarianism, which still involves eating dairy products and eggs.

How is that possible? Not every agricultural land is suitable for growing effective fruit or vegetables on. So if you don't use it to raise animals, that land is 'wasted' from the point of view of the researchers who investigated effective food production. When you look at it this way, animal husbandry is not inherently inefficient. Our current situation - where 80 per cent of fields are dedicated to the production of animal feed - is.

The chance that you have already decided to do your bit is great, because more and more Flemings indicate that they want to eat less meat.

Source: Weekend Knack

Research: 'Vegetarianism is most efficient diet'

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