Doubling the number of vegetarian options on the menus at Cambridge University reduces meat-rich meal choices by 40-80 percent, experts found.
The study of more than 94,000 meal choices in three of the university's colleges is the first to show how diversifying options can encourage diners to become vegetarian.
Researchers discovered that increasing the number of vegetarian options from one to two in four had the greatest effect on regular meat eaters, but had no impact on total meal sales.
Meat-based diets generate more harmful greenhouse gases and require more land for their production compared to vegetarian diets.
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Doubling the number of vegetarian options on Cambridge University's dinner menu & # 39; s reduces meat-rich meal choices by 40-80 percent, experts found
Conservationist Emma Garnett and colleagues from the geography, public health and zoology departments of Cambridge collected annual value from cafeteria sales data – accounting for more than 94,000 meal choices – from three university colleges.
Two of the unnamed universities of applied sciences provided data on selections on time, weekday, lunch and dinner, which were purchased with university cards full of credit.
This data set included 86,932 hot meals and more than 2,100 recurring dinners. Menus during the study period ranged from days without vegetarian or vegan dishes to those where they included 75 percent of the options.
An analysis showed that a doubling of the vegetarian offer on a certain menu from a quarter to half of the available choices increased the share of the vegetarian option in the turnover by almost 15 percent.
Caterers in the third lecture worked with the researchers on a long-term experiment in which the lunch menus varied between the standard of one vegetarian option and two.
The team discovered that doubling the vegetarian lunch options increased the share of vegetarian sales by 8 percent.
& # 39; One of the exciting things about this research is the scale of information about the choices of individual guests & # 39 ;, said co-author and conservationist Andrew Balmford.
& # 39; This allowed us to test for rebound effects when customers compensate for less meat during lunch by & # 39; eat more in the evening. We have found little evidence for this. & # 39;
& # 39; We discovered that changing the relative availability of vegetarian options had the strongest effect on those who usually eat more meat. & # 39; said Balmford.
The study of data on more than 94,000 meal selections in three of the university's colleges is the first to demonstrate that diversifying meal options can encourage diners to become vegetarian.
"Switching to a more plant-based diet is one of the most effective ways to reduce the ecological footprint of food," Garnett said.
Meat-rich diets are a major cause of species loss and climate change.
Dairy, egg, fish and meat farms represent about 58 percent of the greenhouse gases generated by global food production and make up 83 percent of the land use, despite the fact that it only contributes to about 18 percent of the calorie intake in the world.
The Cambridge University catering service has reduced its carbon footprint by nearly 11 percent by removing beef and lamb from its menus. Pictured, King & # 39; s College, Cambridge
& # 39; It seems obvious to replace some meat or fish with more vegetarian options, but as far as we know no one had tested it before. Obvious solutions don't always work, but it seems that they do, & she added.
Onderwijs Education is important, but generally not effective in changing diet. Meat taxes are not popular, & said paper author Theresa Marteau, a behavior and health expert.
& # 39; Adjusting the range of available options is more acceptable and offers a powerful way to influence the health and sustainability of our diet. & # 39;
Researchers discovered that increasing the number of vegetarian options from one to two in four had the greatest effect on regular meat eaters, but had no impact on total meal sales
The team helps shape Cambridge's food policy, while the University Catering Service works on reducing meat options.
The key to this effort was the removal of beef and lamb – which make the largest contribution to meat-based greenhouse gases – from menus.
In fact, the service – which runs the university's central cafeterias that are separate from the eateries at individual colleges – announced earlier this month that such changes had reduced its carbon footprint by 11 percent.
Meat-based diets generate more harmful greenhouse gases and require more land for their production compared to vegetarian diets
& # 39; Universities are increasingly leading the way in offering vegetable-based options that are affordable and tasty, making it easier to choose a more sustainable diet & # 39 ;, says Garnett.
& # 39; I think that really needs to change. We do not say that all cafeterias & # 39; s and restaurants & # 39; must become vegan at night. & # 39;
& # 39; But if food were to be the movie industry, vegetarian and vegan meals should play a more leading role, and meat dishes should stop attracting attention. & # 39;
& # 39; Flexitarianism is increasing. Our results show that caterers who offer more plant-based options not only respond to, but also reform customer demand. & # 39;
& # 39; Simple changes, such as increasing the share of vegetarian options, can be useful scaled up to reduce climate change and the loss of biodiversity. & # 39;
The full findings of the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
VEGETARIAN DIETS REALLY LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
Vegetable diets really lower cholesterol, according to an overview of nearly 50 studies.
Vegetarians generally eat more vegetables, fruits and nuts, which means they have a lower intake of saturated fat, researchers found.
These foods are naturally rich in components such as soluble fiber, soy protein and plant sterols (a cholesterol in plants), all of which have a lower cholesterol level.
From the research led by Dr. Yoko Yokoyama, from Keio University in Fujisawa, found that vegetarians had 29.2 milligrams less cholesterol per deciliter (one tenth of a liter) than meat eaters.
Vegetarian diets lower cholesterol because they result in a lower intake of saturated fat, an increased intake of vegetable foods such as vegetables, fruit and nuts (stock image)
For the assessment, researchers & # 39; vegetarian diets & # 39; intended as a diet where meat products are eaten less than once a month.
For meat eaters, following a vegetarian diet could lower cholesterol by 12.5 milligrams per deciliter.
& # 39; Those (individuals) who have followed vegetarian dietary patterns over extended periods of time may have healthier body compositions and better adherence to a vegetarian diet, both of which may have an effect on blood lipids & # 39 ;, wrote researchers in the newspaper published in the newspaper magazine Nutrition reviews.
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