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Reducing the intake of meat has gained steam among the health and wellness community over the past decade. However, when many people hear the phrase “eat less meat,” they begin picturing popular memes of the overzealous vegan touting their superior diets. If you fall into that category, consider putting your preconceptions of a plant-based diet aside for a few minutes to read about the science-backed reasons eating less meat can really benefit your health—as well as the environment and your general wellbeing.

Reduce Caloric Intake

If you’re looking to lose weight, eating less meat may help you reach your goals a bit faster. In general, those who eat little to no meat consume fewer calories and fat and, on average, weigh less. One study even proved that there is a considerable link between the consumption of meat and obesity in adults.

Improve Heart Health

The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. Research has shown that a plant-based diet can both be used to treat and reverse the progression of heart disease. As such, many doctors have begun recommending a plant-based diet to their patients.

Kinder to Animals

Multiple documentaries and docuseries have recently exposed the dirty side of the meat manufacturing industry. The system we have created kills millions of cattle and poultry every year, with the lead up to their deaths filled with disgusting conditions and cruel treatment. Eating less meat, or no meat at all, can help reduce animal cruelty in the long term.

Save Some Cash

Many people are quick to argue that a plant-based diet is costly. While this can be true in some cases, reducing your meat intake will generally save you money at the grocery store. Meat can be expensive—especially if you prefer grass fed or free range cuts. When you cut back on animal protein, you’ll find that vegetarian and vegan meals are less expensive.

If you’re looking to make a positive change in not only your health but also the world, cutting back or cutting out meat is a good place to start. What’s more, if you choose to adopt a plant-focused diet with meat peppered in every once in awhile, you can officially call yourself a “flexitarian,” which is arguably a cooler term than vegetarian or vegan!