Why Australians should eat more vegetarian food
More than half of Australians are eating less meat in their diet, a new study has found.
It is the first time in Australia to find this gap is closing.
The study of more than 30,000 people found there were still people eating more meat than vegetarians, even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, health and other factors.
“What we found is that the majority of Australians continue to eat a relatively low proportion of meat,” Professor Jane Hartman, a nutrition expert at RMIT University, said.
“If you go from eating a high proportion of vegetarian foods to eating a relatively high proportion, the gap closes up.”
The study found most people ate about 30 per cent less meat than they would if they had remained vegetarians.
The meat eaters also tended to be older, more likely to be white, male and less likely to have diabetes.
“The results are very interesting because the majority are eating more than the vegetarians,” Professor Hartman said.
The new study was conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales, with the support of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Professor Hartmantons work focuses on the impact of social, environmental and cultural factors on health and well-being.
“We have shown that when people eat more meat, they are more likely than other Australians to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity,” she said.
Professor Paul Healy, a senior researcher at RMNU, said the findings were important because people who had a diet more similar to that of the average Australian had more health problems.
“When we look at what is the common denominator between those who are more meat-conscious and those who do not, we see that those who eat more of a high protein, low carbohydrate, low fat diet are more at risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetics,” Professor Healy said.