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New Research Shows Healthy Vegan Food Is Cheaper Than the Alternatives

By Jordi Casamitjana - November 24, 2021
作者:Jordi Casamitjana,2021年11月24日

A new study has finally debunked the myth that the vegan diet is inherently more expensive than other diets. It shows that, on the contrary, if you look solely at the costs of the ingredients, a vegan diet actually costs a third less than the current “western” diets with high amounts of meat and dairy.

The research, published in the prestigious journal Lancet Planetary Health, is titled “The global and regional costs of healthy and sustainable dietary patterns: a modeling study”. It was conducted by Oxford’s researchers Marco Springmann, Michael A Clark, Prof Mike Rayner, Peter Scarborough, and Prof Patrick Webb.
该项研究名为“全球和区域的可持续健康饮食模式的费用:模型研究”,是由牛津大学的研究人员Marco Springmann、Michael A Clark、Prof Mike Rayner、Peter Scarborough和Prof Patrick Webb共同开展的;研究报告已发表在著名期刊《柳叶刀·地球健康》(Lancet Planetary Health)。

The authors used data from the World Bank, and data on over 460 products from markets around the world, to calculate the average cost of different food groups — such as rice, fruits and vegetables, legumes and fish — per country. They also used data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to calculate what would be in a typical vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, and pescatarian diet.
这些作者们使用了世界银行(World Bank)的数据以及世界各地市场460多种产品的数据,计算出每个国家不同食物类别──例如大米、水果、蔬菜、豆类、鱼类──的平均费用。他们还利用联合国粮食及农业组织(FAO)的数据,计算了典型的纯素食、素食、弹性素食和鱼素食的饮食支出情况。

They estimated that the typical western diet costs about US$50 per week per person, while flexitarian diets cost around $42 per person per week, vegetarian diets as low as $34, and vegan diets as low as $33. Switching to a more plant-based diet could save almost $900 per person every year.

Leading author Marco Springmann said: “The important thing to keep in mind here is that the data we used refers to the costs of basic ingredients – such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and so on. We didn’t include ready-made meals, takeaways, or highly processed foods such as plant-based burgers. That means, if you want to realize these savings, go for minimally processed foods and try out some new recipes. That’s not only better for your wallet, but will in most cases also healthier and more sustainable than diets based on highly processed foods.”
第一作者Marco Springmann表示:“这里要记住的重要一点是,我们所使用的数据是指基本材料的费用──例如水果、蔬菜、豆类等。我们(的研究)并不包括方便食品、外卖食品和高度加工的(替代)食品,如植物肉饼等。这意味着,如果你想实现上述的费用节省,需要选择最少加工的食品并尝试一些新的食谱。这么做不仅更为省钱,而且在大多数情况下,也比包含高度加工食品的饮食更健康、更有利于可持续发展。”

The study also looked at how we could bring down the cost of healthy food in low-income countries. They found that when economic development in poor regions was paired with efforts to reduce food waste and the introduction of health and climate-friendly food pricing, cheap sustainable diets could be achieved in these countries within a decade. We will need this if we are to stop climate change. Now that we have eliminated the classical vegan sceptic myth, there should be even fewer excuses not to become vegan when living in developed countries. We already knew that a natural wholemeal unprocessed vegan diet not only is healthier, but also has a lower Carbon Footprint, and a lower Blood Footprint. Now we know that is cheaper too.
该项研究还考查了如何能够减少低收入国家健康食品的费用。研究人员发现,贫穷地区在发展经济的同时,努力减少食物浪费并出台有利于气候的健康食品定价政策,那么这些国家在十年内就可以实现廉价的可持续饮食方式。这样的饮食方式是必不可少的,如果要阻止气候变化的话。现在消除了关于纯素饮食的长期谣言之后,生活在发达国家中的人不成为纯素食者的借口应当进一步减少。我们以前就知道,天然、全谷物、未加工的纯素饮食方式不但更加健康,而且也能同时缩小“碳足迹”(carbon footprint)和“血足迹”(blood footprint)。现在我们知道它还更省钱呢。

译注:“碳足迹”(carbon footprint)是指以二氧化碳当量表示的温室气体排放总量。“血足迹”(blood footprint)是指对有情众生造成的全部苦难。

参考资料:Ethical Vegan: A Personal and Political Journey to Change the World. By Jordi Casamitjana 2020

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