Vegan diet can benefit both health and the environment

There is strong evidence that a plant-based diet is the optimal diet for living a long and healthy life, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition expert Walter Willett.

In a January 7, 2019 interview on the NPR show “1A,” Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, said that it’s not necessary to be 100% vegan in order to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, which has been linked with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. Diets with modest amounts of dairy and fish, and even some poultry and meat, can also be healthy, as long as people steer clear of refined starches and sugar and focus on vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Willett also said that veganism is good for the planet. That’s because cattle grazing generates massive amounts of methane and carbon dioxide, both of which are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

“I think if we really care about the world our children and grandchildren will inherit, we do need to shift toward [a vegan diet],” said Willett. “And the good news is that it’s not just our planet that will be more healthy, but we will be more healthy as well.”

Listen to the 1A interview: Planting A Seed: The Vegan Diet in 2019

Learn more

Healthy plant-based diet linked with substantially lower type 2 diabetes risk (Harvard Chan School release)

Vegetarian Recipes for a Healthy Eating Plate (The Nutrition Source)