Americans consume a lot of meat. According to BBC.com, per person living in the USA consume about 220-275 pounds (100-125 kg) of meat per year, adding to barrels with chicken wings, hamburgers, fried meat, sausages, bacon, and other meat dishes.
Some, however, prefer to avoid meat in general, either because of their dietary preferences, religious beliefs, or for other reasons. These are vegans and vegetarians. By definition, a vegetarian is someone who never eats meat or fish. Unlike vegans who shun animals and all animal products like eggs, dairy, and cheese, vegetarians can consume animal products like yogurt and scrambled eggs, but they don’t eat animal meat.
How many Americans follow a vegetarian diet? According to a 2018 Gallup survey, about 5% of U.S. adults think they are vegetarian. If you add children who are vegetarians in the country, you can see that somewhere between 5% and 10% of all people in the USA are vegetarians.
Disadvantages and advantages
Like most diets, vegetarianism can have its drawbacks and benefits. According to Livestrong.com, one of the main disadvantages of vegetarianism is that your body consumes less total protein. A complete protein is formed when all nine essential amino acids that you need are present in a food source. Unfortunately, plants rarely contain all nine, which means that, as a vegetarian, you must be careful to get all the necessary amino acids, and that you eat a variety of foods throughout the day.
Meat and other animal products are already complete proteins, so in order to be a carnivore, you need to plan less.
Vegetarians may also be at greater risk of nutritional deficiencies. According to the Mayo Clinic, unlike many meat-eaters, vegetarians should be careful, they get enough vitamin B12, iron, zinc, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.
However, you can stick to a vegetarian diet and stay healthy. A vegetarian diet can give you more fiber and antioxidants, which is associated with lower levels of coronary heart disease and better protection against cancer.
There are other benefits to being a vegetarian. Some say that vegetarianism can also be beneficial for the planet. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, agriculture is making a huge contribution to global warming, as well as air pollution, land degradation, deforestation, energy use, and biodiversity reduction.
According to Bustle.com, a study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that being flexible is better for the environment than being a direct vegetarian. A flexible person is one who follows a vegetarian diet, but, by the way, consumes meat and animal products from time to time.
There are over 375 million vegetarians worldwide. If you join them, one thing is certain: you will not be alone in your dietary preferences.
What percentage of Americans are vegetarians?
According to a 2018 Gallup survey, about 5% of U.S. adults think they are vegetarian.