Global meat production has skyrocketed over the last half century with pork and poultry meat now exceeding 100 megatons—a hundred million tons—each year, and this growing demand is unsustainable. Interest has surged in diversified protein sources, given the increasing consensus that reduced meat consumption is critical for addressing both the climate crisis and our burgeoning epidemics of lifestyle diseases. Eating less meat may not only help save the world, but ten million human lives a year. A completely plant-based diet might save $30 trillion from the health benefits alone—just from lowered rates of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

However, a measure as simple as Meatless Mondays requires dietary change, yet neither sustainability nor health approaches are likely to work with those who love their meat. Swapping in plant-based meat substitutes may help disrupt negativity around reducing meat.

Animal-free alternatives, such as burgers by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, were developed to more closely follow the preferences of meat eaters, and environmental lifecycle assessments of products by these two companies determined that switching to either drops greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water footprints down about 90 percent. Similar analyses on more than 50 different plant-based meats found them to be vastly more sustainable to meat.

Meat alternatives are not as healthful as consuming the whole plant foods themselves—the soy and peas, for example, instead of the processed plant-based burger made from soy and peas—but, compared to meat, they win hands down when it comes to trans fats and cholesterol.

We can address both human health and climate crises at the same time by increasing consumption of plant-based foods, including animal-free meat substitutes, and substantially reducing our consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy.

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.

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