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Plant based diets VS climate change: Which diet wins?


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Climatarian, flexitarian, vegan and vegetarian against climate change. Who wins?

Existing figures show that land devoted to agricultural cultivation occupies half of the planet’s habitable land area, while meat and dairy production is responsible for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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And let’s not neglect that the climate crisis that threatens the planet and biodiversity is the basis of health and economic crises that tend to affect the most vulnerable populations on the planet.

At the same time, death rates from cardiovascular disease or cancer would be enough to cause intense concern. Especially if you consider the statistics that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men in the US want. to develop cancer during his lifetime.

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Similar percentages now concern other countries of the world, such as the United Kingdom, where according to the British Journal of Cancer, 1 in 2 people will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their life.

Can changing what we eat help reduce these rates? And in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, what is true? There are climate-friendly ones nutritional approaches to support sustainable agriculture and the future of the planet?

Eat better for a better planet

Climatarian diet

The climatarian diet was created by the non-profit organization Climates Network, with the aim of being a healthy, climate- and nature-friendly nutritional approach. The climatarian diet plan allows the consumption of red meat and other environmentally “guilty” foods, such as poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs.

However, followers are encouraged to replace as many portions of red meat (beef, lamb, pork, veal and venison) with fish or white meat as possible. In general, the overall reduction of meat and the choice of responsibly produced meat is promoted.

Flexitarian diet

Flexitarian is intended for those who do not want to commit to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but wish to benefit from the benefits of not eating meat. It is one of the plant-based diets and is based on a flexible plan that emphasizes the addition of plant-based or plant-based foods and beverages, but without excluding dairy and eggs.

In the context of a flexitarian diet, it encourages less frequent consumption of meat, but does not prohibit it. There are no set calorie or macronutrient goals on a flexitarian diet. At the same time, it is recommended to reduce processed meat and processed carbohydrates.


The vegan diet completely excludes all foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs and bee products. At the same time, it excludes foods that contain ingredients that have been treated with some animal product (eg white sugar), or contain gelatin, honey, traces of egg, etc.

In essence, the vegan diet is not just a diet but a more complete way of life (food, clothing, body care, entertainment, etc.), in the context of which any product of animal origin is avoided.


The vegetarian or vegetarian diet is a less strict version of vegan and does not require that it be accompanied by changes in the general lifestyle. There are several variations such as:

  • the lacto vegetarian diet, where the only permitted food of animal origin is dairy
  • the ovo vegetarian, which allows only eggs
  • the lacto-ovo vegetarian, which does not include animal products (red or white meat, fish, seafood) but allows dairy and eggs

After all, what is worth more?

From vegan to flexitarian and from there to the Mediterranean diet, all plant-based diets can be healthier than the typical Western diet and more beneficial for the environment. Studies show that if the entire world were to switch to a plant-based diet, global mortality would decrease by up to 10 percent by 2050.

At the same time, a global shift away from meat would free up a vast area of ​​land, which is currently used to feed billions of animals intended for human consumption.

And thus, the reduced need for agricultural land would help stop deforestation while helping to protect biodiversity. The land could be used to reforest large areas, which in turn would be a natural store of carbon dioxide.

However, meat, dairy and fish are still major sources of some essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, iodine and vitamin B12. A strict vegetarian diet could therefore put several categories of consumers at risk of deficiency, especially if they restricted access to nutritional supplements.

And let’s not forget that many times, supplements as well as many vegan foods and substitutes, are either very expensive or difficult to access.

Thus, a climatarian or a flexitarian approach could equally benefit humans, limiting potential health risks, but also the planet (indicatively, a simple transition to the Mediterranean diet would be enough to save 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide).

At the same time, a more flexible dietary approach would allow consumers to maintain choice, creating fewer dietary commitments and restrictions. And all this, always maintaining the benefits of plant based nutrition.

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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