Results: Of U.S. adults age 17 and over:
- 2% are current vegetarians/vegans
- 10% are former vegetarians/vegans
- 88% have never been vegetarian or vegan
More than half of former vegetarians/vegans abandoned the diet within the first year, and a third of them abandoned it in three months or less.
“The study sample was unique for a couple of reasons. First it was huge – 11,399 adults of all dietary stripes which were recruited from a representative group of Americans maintained by Harris Interactive (part of the company that conducts the highly respected Harris Poll). Second, while not perfectly representative of the American public, it is a much closer representation of the population of the United States than other studies of our collective dietary choices…I was more impressed by how diverse it was.”
Hal Herzog PhD Psychology Today Dec 2014
EET Fitness Comments:
Vegetarians and Vegans must be blessed with loud voices because I often feel they are all around me, endlessly singing the praises of their lifestyle choice–but all it took was a little science to show the reality that true vegetarians and vegans barely exist. And nearly 9 out of 10 of those folks will be eating meat again before I can say medium rare.
But there’s a more important lesson to be learned here. The China Study was published in 2005 and told us we better get serious about a plant based lifestyle if we hoped to enjoy the same quality of health and lifespan as Chinese homebody peasants without Netflix. Then the full length feature Forks Over Knives (which I caught on Netflix while eating a burger and fries btw) hit the big screen in 2011 to confirm the need for a plant based diet if we hope to survive as a species.
I think I can safely speak for the American people when I say “WE GOT THE MESSAGE”. Most knew better than to try to give up the meat they love so dearly–but even those that wanted the awesome benefits (allegedly) of a plant based diet can’t stay with it.
And that’s the takeaway.
It’s not that people aren’t disciplined enough to stay with restrictive diets like Vegetarian and Vegan, it’s an overwhelmingly proven scientific fact they CAN’T stay with them — Even if they feel their lives and their political and moral views depend on it. As we approach a new year and “diet season” I’m hoping this new highly credible data on vegetarians and vegans will help dieters (espeically those >25 BMI) understand that long-term success on ANY restrictive diet (YES that includes Calorie or Point Counting, Paleo, Gluten Free and all the rest!) is statistically impossible — not improbable, IMPOSSIBLE.
Additional Reading: How Many Former Vegetarians and Vegans Are There? (source of graphic at top of post) Humane Research Council Dec 2014
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