The Many Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

Going on a plant based diet not only benefits you, but also the environment around you.


Going on a plant based diet not only benefits you, but also the environment around you.

Kylie de Best, Photojournalist

In recent years, talk about going on a plant based diet has been a major part of the news and climate studies. Totaling around eight million US citizens, it is slowly gaining popularity within our population. Because of this, many people may wonder why they should go on a plant based diet, or how it makes a positive change in the world. However, in many studies conducted over the years, it has been proven to yield numerous benefits that substantially outweigh the doubts.

First and foremost, there are many health benefits to going on a plant based diet. Research has repeatedly shown that it can not only prevent common diseases, but also cure them. This is because it reduces “bad cholesterol” rates and lowers blood pressure, both primary factors that can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Harvard Health Publishing states that “[They] tend to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and more vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemical (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids.” These nutrients are essential to support digestion and your immune system.

However, in order for this to be done, people must take a proper approach to this diet. This means that although consuming soda and pizza daily is considered plant based, it won’t be effective in reducing diseases compared to a proper diet rich in fruits and vegetables. 

Another benefit is that it helps the environment by dramatically reducing emissions contributing to global warming. If fact, according to Plant Based News, “Animal agriculture has been labeled as the leading of climate change.” It is responsible for the loss of 70 percent of our fresh water, a resource essential to every living being, and 80 percent of the world’s deforestation, including the Amazon rainforest. It also leads to about 20 to 25 percent of global emissions annually. 

Although some may argue that limiting food waste and developing more sustainable agricultural technology could help reduce emissions, being on a plant-based diet far exceeds those environmental benefits. It has the potential to lower Greenhouse gas levels by 35 percent, land usage for food production 42 percent, and agricultural water usage by an average of 28 percent. 

One final benefit is it not only saves the lives of animals, but people as well. In third world countries, the food that is used to feed farm animals could be used to feed starving children long-deprived of vital nutrients. Forks over Knives elaborates on this, saying that “farmers are able to produce 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of grain, vegetables, and fruit per acre to be eaten directly by humans, but less than 100 pounds of meat and only a few gallons of milk when that land is devoted to livestock.”  

Ironically enough, Ethiopia has 50 million cows, sheep, and goats, as well as 35 million chickens, easily making them the owners of one of the world’s biggest herds. After the food is given to the animals, the livestock is killed and shipped to more developed countries such as the US. This may be what contributes to Ethiopia making up approximately 82 percent of the world’s starving children.

Many people feel passionate about their decision of going on a plant based diet, promoting the practice of a more sustainable and less abusive world. Ana Hopper (9) states, “I love being vegetarian, as I have grown up around animals and would think it was weird to eat them. I stopped eating meat because I believe animals are a huge part of the earth and without them, people would not know what to do.” With your decision, you are joining a community where every living organism is equal, and speciesism is not tolerated. Everyone should be treated fairly, and their voices should be heard.