Research About Meatless Monday

Johns Hopkins and other leading institutions have conducted research on the benefits of reducing meat consumption and the impact of Meatless Monday in shifting people towards a more plant-based diet.

There’s a growing body of research that shifting towards a more plant-based diet can help reduce the global burden of chronic preventable diseases, preserve precious land and water resources, and slow the acceleration of climate change, which threatens our planet’s future. Meatless Monday can help people make this shift because it asks people for a small step on a day when people want to eat healthier, and can be practiced with others which provides a social support for change.

Benefits of Reducing Meat Consumption

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has extensive research about the health, environmental and nutritional benefits of reducing meat. Read more about the Center and their resources here.

Health

Shifting to a plant-based diet is a low-cost way to help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.1 Eating a more plant-rich diet and lowering meat consumption can provide a variety of health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and a healthy weight. 2, 3  Individuals who eat a plant-based diet usually consume fewer overall calories, fewer calories from fat and more fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

Environment

Plant-based diets can be good for the planet, too. Raising animals for our current level of consumption has a detrimental impact on our planet, increasing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and depleting our scarce natural resources, including water, land and energy.4 Plant-based nutrition contributes to healthy, sustainable food practices. Shifting to a more plant-based diet could decrease agricultural land use by 80 percent.5

Nutrition

Diets that include less meat and more fruits and vegetables offer plenty of nutrition. This FAQ shares how you can make this change in a healthy, satisfying way.

Meatless Monday and Behavior Change

Awareness Helps Drive Change

Since Meatless was started in 2003, it’s grown exponentially through media, advocacy groups and word-of-mouth. A recent survey showed that 42 percent of Americans were aware of Meatless Monday and of those aware of Meatless Monday, 35 percent say the campaign has influenced their decision to not eat, cut back on, or consider cutting back on the amount of meat they eat. Visit this page to learn more about the survey results.6

Meatless Monday in Communities

Encouraging people to join together to practice Meatless Monday in organizations or whole communities can foster solidarity and a shared commitment to reducing meat consumption.  The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future collaborated with the city of Bedford NY to conduct a pilot of a community-wide Meatless Monday which found increases in awareness and motivation to reduce meat consumption. Read more about the initiative here.

For more tips and resources to promote Meatless Monday, click here.


[1] Tuso, et al. 2013. Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets. Permanente Journal. Spring; 17(2): 61–66. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/

[2] Ledoux TA, Hingle MD, Baranowski T. Relationship of fruit and vegetable intake with adiposity: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews. 2011; 12(5):e143-50. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00786.x

[3] Romaguera et al. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is Associated with Lower Abdominal Adiposity in European Men and Women. Journal of Nutrition. 2009;139(9):1728-1737. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/139/9/1728/4670537

[4] Gerber PJ, Steinfeld H, Henderson B, et al. Tackling Climate Change through Livestock – A Global Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Opportunities. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2013. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3437e.pdf

[5] The Environmental Costs of Meat Production. (2019). Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. https://clf.jhsph.edu/sites/default/files/2019-10/global-meatless-monday-environment_0.pdf2019.

[6] Data Decisions Group. 2019. Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Americans.