Do vegans stay vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Do vegans stay vegan?” and will discuss the reasons why vegans do not stay vegan.

Do vegans stay vegan?

No, vegans do not stay vegan. Vegans revert back because of following reasons: lack of social support, vegan-themed group activities, and disliked standing out among their peers.  Many people choose vegan or vegetarian diets for a variety of reasons, such as religious convictions, personal preferences, health considerations, or worries about animal welfare or environmental sustainability. Whatever the case may be, most vegans don’t stick with it for very long. According to a new survey from animal advocacy group the Humane Research Council, most Americans who abstain from eating meat do so within a year (1).

The research found that about 88 percent of the US population had never attempted a vegetarian or vegan diet. Yet, among the 12 per cent who tried, only 2 per cent had stuck with it. In other words, 5 out of 6 Americans who gave up eating animal products eventually lapsed (1).

Vegetarians and vegans are more likely than the general population to eat meat again, according to the Huffington Post. Nearly a third fail to last longer than three months after starting.

The findings of this study are in line with those of other studies in the field. Ex-vegetarians outweigh current vegetarians three to one, according to Skeptoid.

The reason why vegans leave veganism?

Researchers found that most of the participants lacked social support, vegetarian-themed group activities, and disliked standing out among their peers, according to a new survey, according to HuffPo. The difficulty of going “cold turkey,” as it were, as well as animal-based desires, are also reasons for giving up.”

Accordingly, the most common reason ex-vegetarians and vegans gave for returning to meat had to do with a lack of belonging to a supportive group (84 per cent), and 63 per cent reported feeling like they ‘stuck out from the crowd’. By contrast, only 38 percent of former vegetarians and vegans reported craving meat as their reason for returning. Concerns about health were not reported much at all (1).

Meat is delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients. Although a vegetarian diet can be balanced, it requires conscious effort to make up for the nutrients generally found in meat. One study found that “a full 35% of individuals claimed worsening health was the main reason they turned back to eating flesh,” according to Skeptoid.

Despite this, a rising tide of veganism and vegetarianism in the United States is helping to remove some of the obstacles that prevent people from accessing a wide range of specialty foods and restaurants.

In a survey conducted in 2018 across 28 countries, 3% of the global adult population identified as vegan. Also in 2018, a Gallup poll revealed that there were about 7.5 million adult vegans in the United States. A joint survey conducted in 2019 showed that the number of vegan adults in the United Kingdom increased from 150,000 (0.25% of the population) in 2014 to 600,000 (1.16% of the population). According to an Acumen Research and Consulting report, the global vegan food market is expected to reach around $24.3 billion by 2026 and will rise at a notable compound annual growth rate of around 9.1% from 2019 to 2026 (2).

Although many vegetarians revert to carnivorous eating habits, Time reports that they rarely go back to becoming vegetarians. Many people find a happy medium by opting to eat sustainably and ethically reared animal products while also being “sometimes vegetarians.”

What is a vegan diet?

Veganism is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment.” A person who adopts that philosophy and practices such a lifestyle is known as a vegan. A “vegan diet” is defined for dietary purposes as the practice of avoiding all products derived from animals and is different from other diets, such as a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet predominantly consists of plants but may contain dairy, eggs, honey, and/or other animal-derived products (2).

Whenever you have a vegan guest over for dinner, double-check that your menu adheres to these two rules. In general, plant-based foods are permitted while animal-based foods (such as dairy products and honey) are prohibited.

An estimated 3% of the population in the United States is vegan. They eat this way for a variety of reasons. Some people choose to go vegan to better their health. Certain diseases’ risk may be lowered by following a plant-based diet. Some people abstain from eating meat because they don’t want to cause suffering to animals, while others do so to conserve resources.

If you’ve considered being vegan, you may be unsure if it’s the best choice for you. Choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet has certain advantages, but it also has drawbacks.

Why go vegan?

For the animals

Even if avoiding animal abuse isn’t the primary reason people go vegan, it’s still an important consideration for many. Many people feel that the right to life and freedom extends to all sentient beings, whether or not they have developed emotional links to them. Regardless of the specifics, rejecting animal products is a clear way to show your opposition to animal cruelty and exploitation in general.

The motives that strive people to become vegan were investigated in a study. Results bring animal concerns as main reasons, including to reduce animal suffering, to reduce animal deaths, to reduce meat consumption and to reduce the use of animals for food (3).

For your health

All the nutrients our bodies require may be found in a well-planned vegan diet that follows healthy eating recommendations. These organizations acknowledge that they can be used by people at any age or stage of life, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or income level. According to certain studies, vegan diets are associated with lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

A vegan diet was associated with a substantial reduction in overall cancer incidence (-15%). In comparison to omnivores, vegans had lower levels of C-reactive protein (mean difference -0.54 mg/L) and, as a result, a reduced risk of chronic disease. A vegan diet also improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Sports performances, especially among endurance athletes, also benefited from a vegan diet due to reduction in oxidative stress, improved vascular flow, and tissue oxygenation (2).

Making the switch to veganism is an excellent way to enhance your diet while also learning more about nutrition and cuisine. When you acquire your nutrition from plants, you have more room in your diet for health-promoting foods like whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds, and veggies, which are loaded with essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

For the environment

We all know how to live a greener lifestyle, whether it’s recycling our household waste or riding our bikes to work. Individuals can reduce their carbon footprint significantly by avoiding all animal products. This is far more significant than a case of cow flatulence!

In a study, the environmental impact of an omnivorous diet was compared with a mediterranean diet and a vegan diet. The analysis of the environmental impacts of the three diet groups revealed how the animal-based diet is considerably associated with a higher impact for each environmental indicator evaluated. Indeed, the omnivorous choice generated significantly worse carbon footprint, water footprint, and the ecological footprint  when compared to the other diets (4).

For the people

Veganism is an environmentally sustainable choice, and a plant-based diet is a better alternative for feeding the human family as well. Only a third of the land is needed to support a meat and dairy-based diet when eating a plant-based diet. 

A more sustainable lifestyle is more important than ever, given the growing worldwide food and water shortages caused by a variety of environmental and socio-economic issues. It’s the simplest method to fight against inefficient food systems that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people. Avoiding animal products is not just one of the simplest ways an individual can decrease the burden on food and other resources.

However, the overall benefits of a vegan diet is only possible when the plant-based diet contains unprocessed plant-based foodstuffs. When vegan diets are instead characterized by industrially highly-processed plant-based meat and dairy substitutes (e.g. seitan burger and soy yogurt), highly processed, high-fat products instead of nutritious plant-based foodstuffs, the environmental impacts of the diet are high (4). 

Read more about how vegan diets can help people. 

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Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Do vegans stay vegan?” and discussed the reasons why vegans do not stay vegan.

References

  1. Piazza, J. The four Ns of meat justification. Psychologist, 2021, 34, 32-33.
  2. Loh, Hong Chuan, et al. A Bibliometric Analysis of Global Trends in Vegan-Related Research. Global Trends, 2021, 3.
  3. MacInnis, Cara C., and Gordon Hodson. Tensions within and between vegans and vegetarians: Meat-free motivations matter. Appetite, 2021, 164, 105246.
  4. Rosi, Alice, et al. Environmental impact of omnivorous, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, and vegan diet. Scient rep, 2017, 7, 1-9.