According to Kantar, 66 million British consumers ate 150 million vegan meals last year and one of the most notable consumer trends last year was the shift to a more plant-based diet. More and more consumers are proactively avoiding certain ingredients, driven by medical reasons, healthier lifestyle choices, ethical or environmental concerns. Here are some good reasons why a plant-based diet is a good decision:

Helping the environment and slowing down climate change

The production of meat and other animal products places a burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. In fact, raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes and other forms of transportation combined. In contrast to the cattle industry which is responsible for 51% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, 91% of the Amazon deforestation and water pollution, a plant-based diet requires 16 times less land usage, 13 times less water and produces 50% less CO2 emissions.

Lowering the risk of heart disease

A recent study found that eating more plant-based foods reduces the risk of heart failure. People who ate the most plant-based foods overall had a 16 percent lower risk of having a cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and other conditions – and their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was slashed by nearly a third.

Preventing diabetes

Plant-based foods lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers, people who eat a mostly plant-based diet reduce their risk of diabetes by 23%. The link between plant-based diets and type 2 diabetes is even more beneficial when only healthy plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts are included, as opposed to refined grains, starches and sugars.

Protecting animals

Avoiding animal products is the most effective way to take a stand against animal cruelty. A plant-based diet can save nearly 200 animals per year and there is no better way to protect the animals than choosing plant-based foods over meat, eggs and dairy products.

Losing weight

Vegans are the only group of people who average a normal and healthy BMI – the more animal products people eat, the higher their BMI. A plant-based diet helps to keep the access fat off for good and leave you energised, unlike unhealthy weight loss diets that usually don’t keep the weight off for long and leave you exhausted.

Preventing chronic disease

Increasingly, major health organisations are recommending a healthy well-balanced plant-based diet to prevent cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s. A plant-based diet can often be more effective than medication when it comes to these diseases.

Helping to feed everyone

The human population is rapidly increasing. According to the UN, it may reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which is expected to increase food demand between 59 to 98%. As a result, agricultural markets will be impacted in ways we haven’t seen before. Farmers will have to increase agricultural land or enhance productivity, which still may not be quick enough to meet the forecasted demand for food. A plant-based diet can help to change this.