Should People Become Vegetarian?
In 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that Americans ate an average of 54.3 pounds of beef, 92.1 pounds of chicken, and 50.4 pounds of pork, per person, per year. Vegetarians, about 3.3% of the US adult population and 4% of the US youth population, do not eat meat (including poultry and seafood). In their Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, the USDA and the US Department of Health and Human Services outline three "healthy eating patterns" or "balanced diets" - two include meat, one is vegetarian.
Many proponents of vegetarianism say that eating meat harms health, wastes resources, causes deforestation, and creates pollution. They often argue that killing animals for food is cruel and unethical since non-animal food sources are plentiful.
Many opponents of a vegetarian diet say that meat consumption is healthful and humane, and that producing vegetables causes many of the same environmental problems as producing meat. They also argue that humans have been eating and enjoying meat for 2.3 million years. Read more background...
For the purposes of this site a "vegetarian diet" is one that does not contain any meat (including poultry and seafood), but can contain eggs (ovo) and dairy (lacto) products, which is why the diet is sometimes called the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. Vegans do not eat any animal products including meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Archived Notices (archived after 30 days) Last updated on 8/18/2016 1:00:53 PM PST