A Review of Omnivorous and Plant – Based Diet Health Effects, Environmental Impacts and Alternative Solutions
The aim of this thesis is to evaluate the omnivorous meat - based, and plant – based food options, nutritional compositions, health effects, consumption motivations and mainly the environmental impacts.
The global population is set to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. The growing demand for potable water, nutritious food, fertile lands are inevitable. Parallel to the population growth, the requirement for meat protein source is growing. However, the animal agriculture is known to be one of the biggest causes of the global warming, green – house gas emissions. The excessive meat, particularly red meat consumption is a cause of serious health issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, cancer and stroke. The question has been arisen and to be answered. What will nearly 10 billion people eat, how the food will be produced when the only way to mitigate the climate change impacts are to reduce carbon, water and land related emissions and a significant red meat consumption decrease. People used to consume meat for centuries. The liking factor and the belief of healthiness of meat became the main motivations for consuming meat and meat products, while plant - based products are also consumed for the liking factor, but essentially for animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Meat alternatives with a similar nutritional value and satisfying factors like Impossible Burger can offer a more sustainable option to mitigate the rapidly growing climate change caused by green – house gas emissions. A detailed comparison of a regular beef burger and the Impossible Burger showed, that the consumer who chooses the plant – based vegan option, reducing the environmental impact by 87% to 96%.
In conclusion, meat has always been the main source of the food intake and it will always remain as the most desired food to eat, however the rise of the global warming makes the meat consumption re-assessed as proven to be one of the biggest causes of the climate change.