A new study is suggesting people in developed countries become “demitarians” in the name of global sustainability, which would require eating half as much meat as one would typically consume.
The developed world’s demand for cheaper meat has caused an expansion in factory farming, which has increased the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, causing water and air pollution that is in turn detrimental to human health. Chemical runoff is creating dead zones in oceans, killing fish and algae, and even contributing to the collapsing bee population. The UN report is using this information as an example for why we need to think more about our food choices for both our health and the environment.
The suggestion is to add more veggies to each plate, and consider meat portions a treat rather than an integral part of each meal. According to professor and study author Mark Sutton, he had a chef at a recent UN event use a third of the typical amount of meat and replace the difference with more vegetables. Ninety percent of guests were just as satisfied.
Sutton also coined the term demitarian, with hopes of limiting the animal protein in people’s diets in the US and Europe, while still allowing poor countries to eat more meat to help beat severe protein deficiencies.
“Unless action is taken, increases in pollution and per capita consumption of energy and animal products will exacerbate nutrient losses, pollution levels and land degradation, further threatening the quality of our water, air and soils, affecting climate and biodiversity,” the report said.
I know there are PLENTY of die hard meat lovers out there, but do you think the majority of people would really notice if restaurants got on board and started reducing steak, pork, and chicken cuts by a couple ounces? Less meat is beneficial on so many levels, and if you supplement the difference with some extra green beans or potatoes, your body is not going to suffer.
Are you a demitarian? Have you ever heard of or used the phrase before this?
Image CC licensed by Ernesto Andrade