Veganism is more than just a way of eating. For many people, going plant-based is an all-encompassing lifestyle. As it turns out, there are plenty of vegan statistics and facts that prove that going vegan comes with a variety of benefits, both for yourself and the planet around you.
What Is Veganism?
Veganism is a practice in which you abstain from eating meat and other animal byproducts. This means that you not only avoid meat, poultry, and fish, but you also forgo dairy, honey, and any other food products from animal by-products.
It’s also helpful to understand the distinction between veganism and vegetarianism. While vegetarians do not eat meat, they may eat animal by-products like dairy. On the other hand, vegans avoid using any products or food that use animals in the production process.
Why You Should Go Vegan
Veganism is rising in popularity, and for good reason. You should consider going vegan because it’s:
1. A healthier way of living
When done correctly, eating a vegan diet means that you’re getting more whole, plant-based foods. This means that you’re eating foods with a rich store of nutrients that your body needs and that too many people don’t get enough of when they follow other kinds of diets.
In addition, eating a healthy, balanced vegan diet also means that you’re eating fewer processed “junk foods” and are less exposed to the carcinogens, antibiotics, and hormones from meat products in your diet.
Ultimately, eating plant-based can lead to a longer, healthier life.
2. Better for the environment
Traditional agricultural methods take a major toll on the environment. It’s a huge industry, but we have the power to minimize its impacts by reducing our consumption of meat and animal products.
The more people there are who make the switch to veganism, the less of an impact our industrial agricultural methods will have on the earth. That means a healthier planet for future generations.
3. Kinder to animals
There’s no way around it: eating meat means that animals do not need to die. If that’s not enough, many of the animals raised for consumption or their byproducts are horribly mistreated. Eliminating your animal consumption means that fewer animals have to suffer for the sake of human consumption.
22 Vegan Facts and Statistics
1. Veganism isn’t just an eating pattern.
While most people understand that veganism means that you’re giving up the meat and dairy products in your diet, there’s more to it than just that. Many vegans also abstain from using animal products, like leather and wool, to avoid supporting industries that exploit animals for human use.
2. Approximately 19.7 million Americans are plant-based.
According to a survey published in 2017, up to 6% of Americans identified as vegan. That’s about 19.7 million Americans who choose to shun animal food and products in favor of plant-based goods.
3. Veganism has also become increasingly popular in recent years.
The environmental impact of industrial farming and the increasing awareness of the cruelty and mistreatment of animals led to a huge increase in the number of people who choose to go vegan.
From that same survey conducted in 2017, researchers found that the number of Americans who chose to go vegan rose to 6% from a mere 1% in 2014.
4. There are vegan-friendly meat alternatives.
If you want to reduce your animal consumption but aren’t looking forward to giving up meat products completely, there are plenty of alternatives that aim to bridge that gap. Several alternative “meat” products use plant-based ingredients like soy, tempeh, chickpeas, and lentils.
In addition, the past couple of years have seen the rise of companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Brands. These companies have made strides in creating alternative meat products that closely mimic the taste and texture of real meat.
5. The alternative “meat” business is also booming.
With more and more people subscribing to a vegan way of living, it’s expected that the market for vegan alternative meats will hit a whopping $17.5 billion by the year 2027.
It’s even going mainstream - you can find Beyond Meats and Impossible Brands options at nationwide chains like Carls Jr., Burger King, and Dunkin Donuts!
6. Veganism may be a more heart-healthy way of living.
Because their diet doesn’t include animal products like meat and dairy, vegans tend to eat less saturated and trans fats. In addition, plant-based diets are usually richer in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Because of this, researchers have found that people who follow plant-based diets are at a lower risk for developing cardiovascular diseases when compared to other eaters.
7. Going vegan can be protective against certain cancers.
People who eat plant-based diets tend to eat more anti-inflammatory nutrients like antioxidants because of the high intake of fruits and veggies. They also tend to get more fiber than people who follow other diets.
This, combined with the fact that high consumption of red meat has been linked to cancer, has led researchers to conclude that plant-based diets are the way to go if you want to prevent your risk of developing cancer down the line.
In fact, vegans have been found to be the eating group with the lowest rates of cancer!
8. Veganism is great for the environment!
The increasing focus on our impact on the environment is a major reason that more and more people are switching to veganism.
Agriculture produces a ton of greenhouse gas emissions, which directly contributes to global warming. It’s also an unsustainable practice. The less of a demand there is for traditional meat products, the less of an impact our food consumption will have on the future of the earth.
One study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America estimated that a worldwide transition towards plant-based diets could reduce greenhouse gas emissions anywhere from 29-70%!
9. It takes a huge amount of resources to create just one pound of beef.
The impact that meat consumption has on our natural resources is staggering. According to EarthSave, it takes a whopping 2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil, and the energy from one gallon of gasoline - all to produce just one pound of beef.
10. On average, Americans eat about 58.8 pounds of beef per year.
Now multiply that by the number of resources that you need just to produce one pound of beef. That means that for the average American person, their beef consumption alone uses 147,000 gallons of water per year!
11. Veganism is also great for the oceans.
Besides the impact that animal products have on our land, it also plays a big role in the health of the oceans.
Overfishing disrupts marine ecosystems and can contribute to ocean pollution, both of which can affect the health of our ocean life. Fish farms have their share of damaging effects on the environment as well. Choosing vegan alternatives more often minimizes the demand for harmful fishing practices.
12. If modern fishing practices don’t change, scientists have predicted that the oceans will be fishless by 2048.
This grim statistic means that if we continue to overfish to feed the world population, we will deplete our marine life resources.
But on the other hand, there is hope if the right changes are made. Another study concluded that the ocean has ample hopes of recovering in that same time frame - as long as we reduce our overfishing and other practices that harm the oceans.
13. There are different subsets of veganism.
People may choose veganism for a variety of reasons. “Climate veganism,” for example, means that people choose not to eat animal products because of the effects that they can have on our natural resources. Others may choose veganism for their health, to promote animal welfare - or a combination of all the above!
14. More than 99% of US farm animals are in factory farms.
Factory farms are notorious for putting profit before the humane treatment of their animals. So this means that up to 99% of the animals used for food and other animal products are subject to overcrowding, inappropriate feed, and other inhumane conditions.
15. Celebrities that adhere to veganism include Joaquin Phoenix, Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, Ariana Grande - to name a few.
16. Some unexpected ingredients are not vegan.
Along with the most obvious foods that aren’t vegan-friendly, like meat and dairy products, there are also some processed foods that also involve animals that aren’t quite as obvious.
For example, vegans also avoid eating foods like gummy candies, jello, and marshmallows because they are made with gelatin, a product made from the skins, ligaments, tendons, and bones of animals.
17. Veganism might be a good way to lose weight.
Besides the environmental impacts, many people choose to switch to veganism simply because it’s a healthier choice that can also lead to weight loss.
Vegans tend to eat fewer calories than their meat-eating counterparts. When done in conjunction with calorie-counting, macronutrient-planning, and regular physical activity, a plant-based diet can promote a healthy body weight.
18. Some alcohol is not vegan-friendly.
Before you grab the wine or beer, do a little bit of research. There are several ingredients and fillers that may be used to make alcohol, and some of them are not compatible with a vegan diet. This includes ingredients like milk, cream, whey, casein, honey, eggs, and gelatin.
19. Going vegan does require some planning to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
While there are plenty of benefits of following a vegan diet, the restrictions mean that you have to be a little more careful with your dietary choices to ensure that you’re eating a fully-balanced balanced diet. Vegans are more at risk of becoming deficient in nutrients that are most commonly found in animal products, including:
Because of this, you may need to take special care when planning out your food for the week. You may also want to consult with your doctor and see if they recommend taking vegan-friendly dietary supplements.
20. Plant-based proteins are often incomplete.
Plenty of plant-based foods come with a good amount of protein, but plant-based proteins are also “incomplete.” In other words, they don’t have all nine essential amino acids that are needed to create a “complete” protein, unlike meat products.
So getting enough plant-based protein often means combining protein-rich sources. For example, beans and rice on their own are incomplete. But when you combine them, you have a complete protein.
However, there are some solo plant-based proteins that have all the amino acids you need, like quinoa and soy.
21. Not all vegan food is made equal.
Veganism might bring to mind the image of plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts, but there are also tons of processed vegan foods that are less-than-ideal for a well-balanced diet.
So don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because it’s vegan, it’s healthy. While processed foods are okay in moderation, it’s ideal to eat less of the processed stuff and get most of your foods in a whole form for the best nutrition profile.
22. In 2019, speakers of the United Nations warned that we only had 11 years to prevent irreversible damage from climate change.
It’s a grim reality, but there is also hope - and a change in the way that we eat was cited as one of the significant ways that we can prevent an environmental disaster. One of the things that we as consumers can do is minimize the number of animal products we demand.
Once an obscure way of life, veganism is becoming more and more popular as we open our eyes to the damaging effects of modern-day consumption. Going plant-based is one of the best choices that we can make to be kinder to our bodies and the earth!