To many Americans, the idea that "beef is bad" is preposterous. And to many policy-makers, the idea of "eating down low on the food chain" is the pet cause of the upper-middle class and Blue State baby boomers.
But a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences puts hard data behind the idea that reducing meat-consumption would have an outsized, positive impact on food security and human health.
Some key take-aways are:
A plot of land that produces four grams of protein from beef farming would generate 100 grams of protein from plants.
Reducing beef consumption alone would free up enough land that every two Americans who quit beef would save enough resources to feed a third person.
If Americans gave up all meat products, the country could generate enough food to feed another 350 million Americans.
The opportunity costs of meat production exceed the cost of all food waste.
Taxpayers would save as much as $80 billion dollars by eliminating a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and by mitigating the public health problems that come with a meat-heavy diet.
Read the full study here: Shepon et al., The Opportunity Cost of Animal-Based Diets Exceeds All Food Losses, PNAS, Mar. 26, 2018.