If you’re eating meat on a daily basis, it appears you’re in the minority – according to new research.
The survey of 2,000 Americans examined respondents’ eating habits and found that less than half (47 percent) said meat is a major part of their diet.
Instead of chowing down a dinner of chicken or steak, respondents are instead eating “flexitarian” (23 percent) – mostly plant-based food with the occasional inclusion of meat – and vegetarian (18 percent) diets.
Interestingly enough, flexitarians were the most likely to say their food choices were a result of wanting to be environmentally friendly (40 percent) and ethical (31 percent).
And youth are helping drive the change to more plant-based meals; 36 percent of flexitarians said they follow the lifestyle because their child(ren) had the desire to.
Commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition and conducted by OnePoll in advance of Vegetarian Awareness Month in October, the survey found that 71 percent of respondents are open to including more plant-based foods in their diet.
For those who don’t consume meat as a major part of their diet, they shared that they get their protein through supplementation with shakes and protein bars (65 percent), as well as by eating food known to be a high source of protein (56 percent) – foods like soy, peas, beans and rice.
“Protein is an important component of every cell in the body, helping to support healthy bones, muscles and organs,” says Susan Bowerman, registered dietitian and senior director of Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition. “So whether you obtain your protein from shakes, bars, animals or plants, your focus should be on the quality of the source, to help ensure your body is receiving maximum benefit.”
Millennials were the most likely to have become more open-minded about plant-based foods and meatless meat in recent years, but in good news for the trend, results found that all generations have become more accepting about the idea.
The study also found that Americans living in the West and Northeast are the most likely to “often” eat meatless meat (20 percent and 19 percent, respectively).
They’re also the most likely to have become more open-minded about plant-based foods and meatless meat (51 percent and 55 percent, respectively).
And 70 percent of respondents – regardless of age or region – believe meatless meat will continue to grow in popularity.
But results showed that while 71 percent are open to introducing more plant-based foods to their diets, 16 percent “never” eat meatless meat.
One of the reasons they might be avoiding meatless meat is because they don’t know what’s in it. Less than half were aware that meatless meat commonly contains soy (45 percent), while just 41 percent knew that seitan/wheat gluten was another common ingredient.
But there’s other misconceptions – unlike other plant-based alternatives like beans, meatless meat is designed to taste like meat, something which only half of respondents (55 percent) knew.
And 38 percent erroneously believed that meatless meat was grown in a lab.
“For those who want to eat more plant foods but don’t want to give up the taste of meat, there are plenty of ‘meatless meat’ options,” continued Bowerman. “While bean and grain-based burgers have been around for some time, there are newer products made with plant protein powders that provide the taste and texture that meat-eaters crave.”
AMERICAN ADULTS’ EATING HABITS
1. Meat is part of my diet 47 percent
5. Other 10 percent
WHY FLEXITARIANS CHOOSE THEIR LIFESTYLE
1. Healthier for my body 52 percent
2. Concerns about health problems/illnesses 41 percent
3. More environmentally-friendly 40 percent
4. How I was raised/what my parents taught me 38 percent
5. Because my child(ren) wanted to 36 percent