Food Sustainability

Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based diets.

What is Food Sustainability?

A sustainable food system is a collaborative network that integrates several components in order to enhance a community's overall well-being.
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Meat-Based Diets

  • 2 billion people live primarily off a meat-based diet.
  • Meat-based diets require more energy to produce their food than vegetarian diets.
  • The US livestock population consumes more than 7 times as much grain that is consumed by the entire American population.
  • Americans eat about eight ounces of meat a day, roughly twice the global average.
  • Americans are consuming twice the recommended daily amount (RDA) for protein.
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Plant-Based Diets

  • 4 billion people live primarily on a plant-based diet.
  • The amount of grains used to produce animal products (milk and eggs) was about half the amount of grains fed to livestock to produce animal products consumed in a meat-based diet.
  • A plant-based diet enables individuals to meet basic nutrient needs.

So Which Diet is More Sustainable?

In a general sense, plant-based diets are more sustainable. Plant-based diets require less energy to produce the food needed than meat-based diets do.
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Why should we care about food sustainability?


  • Shortages of cropland, fresh water, and energy resources require most of the 4 billion people to live off a plant-based diet.

  • More than 99.2% of US food is produced on land while less than .8% comes from oceans and other aquatic ecosystems.

  • Each year about 90% of US cropland loses soil at a rate 13 times above the sustainable rate of 1 ton.

  • Agricultural production consumes more freshwater than any other activity in the US.

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