Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings. It could also avoid climate-related damages of $1.5 trillion (US), Oxford Martin School researchers have found.

Veggie based diets could save 8 million lives by 2050 and cut global warming

Photo: Shutterstock

The study, published today in the journal, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, is the first to estimate both the health and climate change effects of moving towards more plant-based diets for all major world regions.

Lead author Dr Marco Springmann, of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, said: 'What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment. Imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden globally and in most regions. At the same time the food system is also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a major driver of climate change.'

To assess the health and environmental effects, the researchers modelled four different dietary scenarios for the year 2050: a 'business as usual' scenario based on projections of future diets; a scenario based on global dietary guidelines which includes minimum amounts of fruits and vegetables, and limits to the amount of red meat, sugar, and total calories; and vegetarian and vegan scenarios which both conform to the dietary guidelines.

Read more on the University website (opens new window)