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A recent study in Scientific Reports shows that some plant-based diets can offer the same nutritional value as meat products, with the added advantage of being more environmentally friendly.

Plant based diets avoid the damage associated with meat production, such as forests being cut down to make way for pastures, the use of fertilizers, fuels, pesticides, water and land to produce the grains fed to livestock, as well as the greenhouse gases emitted by livestock manure.

However, many people are hesitant towards trying a plant-based diet, based on belief that they will not be getting the same nutritional value.

Gidon Eshel, a research professor of environmental and urban studies at Bard College, has worked to determine the precise plant-based diet that provides every nutrient you would get in a diet that includes meat. The conclusion was that a diet made up of soy, green pepper, squash, buckwheat and asparagus could provide the nutritional benefits of a diet that includes meat.

Eshel and his colleagues found that if all Americans switched to a plant-based diet, it would eliminate the need for pastureland, reduce the amount of crop land by c.25%, and clean the nation’s waterways.