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More Reasons to Eat More Plants!

Plant-based eating has grown in popularity for its human health and environmental benefits. But are there other reasons? Like a cost savings?

Jenna Bell, PhD, RD

SVP of Nutritional Science for Sensei Ag

It’s likely you’ve heard that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you. Your mom, dad, doctor and dietitian have been saying this for years. More recently, the recommendation has become a way of life – now referred to as a “plant-based diet”.

 

Unlike other diet plans, plant-based eating is not prescriptive – there are many choices. A survey from the International Food Information Council found that one-third of respondents believed that “plant-based” means that you consume zero animal products, like veganism. Thirty-three percent described “plant-based” as being a focus on minimally processed foods from plants, with limited consumption of animal meat, eggs and dairy. Slightly less than 25 percent of respondents stated that “plant-based” was a vegetarian diet. The remaining responses said that it’s a pattern with mostly fruits and veggies without a limit on meats, eggs and dairy. From the perspective of experts, none of the responses are incorrect – plant-based eating may be interpreted as each individual see fit.

 

 

However you get there…
Public health consensus is clear – eating a plant-based diet is beneficial to your health. The aim is to have a greater focus on fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses (beans, legumes, dried peas, lentils) and nuts while leaving less space on the plate for meat, dairy and eggs. As with the recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables, the reason for more plants is to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients while consuming fewer calories, dietary cholesterol, sodium and saturated fat.

 

In addition to nutrients, plant-based diets are associated with whole body health benefits. Eating more plants at the expense of animal-products appears to lower risk factors for chronic disease. Research comparing plant-based diets without meat (such as vegetarian and vegan patterns) to meat-friendly diets, the meatless tend to have healthier biomarkers like body mass index, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and glucose levels. Reductions in key risk factors and correlational studies have shown that plant-based eating can help your body function better. Like in these critical areas:

 

 

 

But could eating plant-based actually be better for your wallet too?

A study published by Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition compared a plant-based diet to the current MyPlate plan by the USDA. The researchers found that plant-based diets saved shoppers about $750 a year per person compared to those who followed MyPlate (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy). That’s a savings of $62.50 per person, per month. Not only was it budget-friendly, the plant-based eaters excelled in achieving recommended intakes of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They ate significantly more servings of vegetables (44.50 vs. 19.33), fruits (34.50 vs. 30.75), and whole grains (34.0 v 20.0). Another way to look at it is to consider that the MyPlate diet cost $746.46 more per year while providing fewer servings of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

 

In an online survey by Jack Lawson from sousvideguy.com shared his findings from a poll on plant-based eating. Lawson found that roughly 27% of those polled acknowledged reducing or eliminating their meat intake to save money in 2019. Apparently, that works. While most people didn’t think it could be done, people on meatless diets spent an average of $23 less on food every week in this poll (that’s a savings of about $1200 per year).

 

Need some plant-based recipes?

Look no further…

Our recipes: https://senseifarms.com/recipes/

The Plant-Based Dietitian: https://plantbaseddietitian.com/recipes/

The Conscious Dietitian: https://theconsciousdietitian.com

Dietitian Debbie: https://dietitiandebbie.com
The Plant-Powered Dietitian: https://sharonpalmer.com