Breaking News
February 22, 2019 - Successful testing of multi-organ “human-on-a-chip” could replace animals as test subjects
February 22, 2019 - Analysis of cervical precancer shows decline in two strains of HPV
February 22, 2019 - Sugary stent eases suturing of blood vessels
February 22, 2019 - From surgery to psychiatry: A medical student reevaluates his motivations
February 22, 2019 - Is New App From Feds Your Answer To Navigating Medicare Coverage? Yes And No
February 22, 2019 - New pacemakers powered by heartbeats could reduce need for surgery
February 22, 2019 - The United States records highest drug overdose death rates
February 22, 2019 - Phase 1 data reinforce safety profile of new drug for treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy
February 22, 2019 - Vitamin D supplementation less effective in the presence of obesity, shows study
February 22, 2019 - Sarepta Announces FDA Acceptance of Golodirsen (SRP-4053) New Drug Application for Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Amenable to Skipping Exon 53
February 22, 2019 - An institutional effort to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed following lumbar surgery
February 22, 2019 - Failure to take statins leads to higher mortality rates | News Center
February 22, 2019 - New study explains why some patients report phantom sensations after limb amputation
February 22, 2019 - First motor-controlled heart valves implanted by Mainz University Medical Center
February 22, 2019 - Novel preclinical model mimics persistent interneuron loss seen in preterm infants
February 22, 2019 - Global health burden of glaucoma has increased, study reveals
February 22, 2019 - A holistic approach key to minimize treatment complexity in patients with interstitial lung disease
February 22, 2019 - 1 in 10 middle-aged Chinese adults are at high risk for heart disease, finds study
February 22, 2019 - More than half a million breast cancer patient’s lives saved by improvements in treatment
February 22, 2019 - Study finds no evidence that tougher policies prevent teenage cannabis use
February 22, 2019 - New blood test detects genetic disorders in fetuses
February 22, 2019 - Lower Self-Perception Observed in Children With Amblyopia
February 22, 2019 - Up to 15 percent of children have sleep apnea, yet 90 percent go undiagnosed
February 22, 2019 - Rare pulmonary defect prompts parents’ nationwide search for answers | News Center
February 22, 2019 - Lesbian and bisexual women at greater risk of being overweight, study finds
February 22, 2019 - UQ research may explain why vitamin D is essential for brain health
February 22, 2019 - Heart Attacks Rising Among Younger Women
February 22, 2019 - How your smartphone is affecting your relationship
February 22, 2019 - Orthopaedic surgeon receives prestigious award, $10 million grant | News Center
February 22, 2019 - New sepsis test could save thousands of lives
February 22, 2019 - Cervical cancer could be eradicated by 2100
February 21, 2019 - Sustained smoking cessation can lower risk of seropositive RA
February 21, 2019 - Thousands with chronic UTIs are not receiving the treatment they need
February 21, 2019 - Are teens getting high on social media? The surprising study seeking the pot-Instagram link
February 21, 2019 - Stanford expands biobank services | News Center
February 21, 2019 - Scientists identify link between drinking contexts and early onset intoxication among adolescents
February 21, 2019 - Strong social support may reduce cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women
February 21, 2019 - Rapid expansion of interventions could prevent up to 13 million cases of cervical cancer within 50 years
February 21, 2019 - Motif Bio Receives Complete Response Letter From The FDA
February 21, 2019 - Researchers map previously unknown disease in children
February 21, 2019 - A skeptical look at popular diets: Going gluten-free
February 21, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ How Safe Are Your Supplements?
February 21, 2019 - Factors associated with increased risk of developing surgical site infections
February 21, 2019 - Anticipatory signals in eye movements can help measure attentive capacity, learning with greater precision
February 21, 2019 - Study explores daily exposure to indoor air pollutants
February 21, 2019 - Evening exercise does not negatively affect sleep, may also reduce hunger
February 21, 2019 - Artificial intelligence technique can be used to identify alcohol misuse in trauma setting
February 21, 2019 - Overweight, obesity in adolescence associated with increased risk of renal cancer later in life
February 21, 2019 - BGU develops new AI platform for monitoring and predicting ALS progression
February 21, 2019 - Researchers discover a new promising target to improve HIV vaccines
February 21, 2019 - Brief Anesthesia in Infancy Does Not Mar Neurodevelopment
February 21, 2019 - Gaming system helps with autism diagnosis
February 21, 2019 - Heart Disease: Six Things Women Should Know
February 21, 2019 - More States Say Doctors Must Offer Overdose Reversal Drug Along With Opioids
February 21, 2019 - Researchers explore case studies focused on industries that kill more people than employed
February 21, 2019 - Only half of GP practice buildings are fit for purpose
February 21, 2019 - Intense exercise, fasting and hormones can enhance waste-protein removal, study shows
February 21, 2019 - Scientists can monitor brain activity to predict epileptic seizures few minutes in advance
February 21, 2019 - Study quantifies hepatic and intestinal mRNA expression of Ugt isoforms in rats
February 21, 2019 - ‘Apple-Shaped’ Body? ‘Pear-Shaped’? Your Genes May Tell
February 21, 2019 - Can we repair the brain? The promise of stem cell technologies for treating Parkinson’s disease
February 21, 2019 - Trump Plan To Beat HIV Hits Rough Road In Rural America
February 21, 2019 - PENTAX Medical introduces new electrosurgical and argon plasma coagulation platforms
February 21, 2019 - Trump plan to beat HIV hits rough road in rural America
February 21, 2019 - Eating blueberries every day could help decrease blood pressure
February 21, 2019 - ‘No Second Chances’ report calls for new measures to combat cardiovascular disease in Australia
February 21, 2019 - Mayo clinic researchers discuss local case studies of leprosy
February 21, 2019 - Scientists demonstrate key role of salt in allergic immune reactions
February 21, 2019 - Experts propose revising the criteria for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease
February 21, 2019 - The med student and the machine
February 21, 2019 - Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Is Striking For School Nurses The Way To Go?
February 21, 2019 - Latest research encourages children to move out and learn through physical activity
February 21, 2019 - Proper oral hygiene and regular visits to dentist can promote heart health
February 21, 2019 - New, versatile technique for remote control of transplanted cells in Parkinson’s
February 21, 2019 - Why melanoma tumors in the brain may be worse?
February 21, 2019 - New project aims to improve lung disease care in Appalachia
February 21, 2019 - Drug increases melanin production in some people with albinism
February 21, 2019 - Over 1 in 3 adults miss the mark on protein, finds study
February 21, 2019 - CymaBay Therapeutics Announces Seladelpar Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for the Treatment of Primary Biliary Cholangitis
February 21, 2019 - A correlation between obesity and income has only developed in the past 30 years
Five ways to encourage people to reduce their meat intake – without them even realising

Five ways to encourage people to reduce their meat intake – without them even realising

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: shutterstock

Meat makes a meal, so goes the saying. But with more people than ever before ditching meat for plant-based alternatives, it seems meaty dishes are starting to go out of fashion.

An estimated 29 percent of evening meals contained no meat or fish in 2017, according to UK market research. And the reason for this is often linked to health. Research shows that eating red and processed meat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer.

Livestock production is also bad for the environment. It leads to deforestation, pollution of water, and emits greenhouse gases that heat up our planet. This environmental impact also takes a toll on human health – for example, a warmer climate enables malaria-carrying mosquitoes to spread faster and wider.

But despite the rise of lower meat diets, scientists continue to call for more people to reduce their meat consumption, which is essential to meet environmental and climate change targets.

How to eat less meat

It might seem like encouraging people to eat less meat is a no-brainer: just provide information about the implications of eating meat and people will start eating less of it. But in our recent paper published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, we found no evidence that simply providing information about the health or environmental implications of eating meat cuts the meat on people’s plates.

This might be because our everyday food choices are rarely driven by what’s known as our “Einstein Brain System,” which makes us behave rationally and in line with what we know about the pros and cons of doing something. People don’t have nearly enough brain space to make such rational judgements every time they choose what to eat. So when it comes to deciding between a ham or a hummus sandwich, the odds are we won’t base this decision on the information we just read in the latest climate change report.

Instead, these routine food choices are typically driven by what can be termed our “Homer Simpson Brain System” – named after the cartoon character famed for making impulsive decisions. This system is designed to save brain space by allowing our surroundings to be the guide to what we eat.

In a review we also published in the Lancet Planetary Health we aimed to understand how the settings in which people typically eat or buy food can be changed to reduce meat consumption. This research is still at its early stages, but already there are some interesting findings indicating what might work.

1. Reduce portion size

Reducing the default portion size of meat products is a promising way forward. One study found that downsizing the default portion size of meat dishes in restaurants got each customer to consume on average 28g less meat in these dishes, without affecting their overall restaurant experience.

Another study found that adding smaller sausages to supermarket shelves was linked with a 13 percent reduction in meat purchases. So, simply making smaller meat portions available in supermarkets could also help to cut down meat consumption.

2. Design greener menus

How foods are displayed on restaurant menus also makes a difference. Research has shown that creating an exclusive vegetarian section at the end of a restaurant menu actually reduces the likelihood of people trying plant-based foods.

Instead, displaying the meat options on a separate restaurant board and only keeping plant-based options on the default paper menu made people four times more likely to go with a meat-free option, according to a study conducted in a simulated canteen.

3. Position meat out of sight

Research showed that making veggie options more visible than meat at the counter of a university canteen was linked with a 6 percent increase in the selection of meat-free dishes. And when it comes to a buffet setup, placing the meat options at the end of the aisle is probably the way to go. One small study found that this buffet layout could cut people’s meat intakes by up to 20 percent. But given the small sample size, more research is needed to corroborate this finding.

4. Help people make the obvious connection

Reminding people of where meat actually comes from can also make quite a difference to how much meat people end up eating. Research shows, for example, that presenting the image of a pork roast with the pig’s head still attached increases people’s demand for a plant-based alternative.

5. Develop delicious meat-free products

Of course, making vegetarian dishes delicious sounding enough to compete with meat ones seems like a good idea. And a recent study found that increasing the look and appeal of meat-free options on the menu of a simulated university cafeteria doubled the amount of people who selected meat-free meals over traditional meat dishes.

So while it’s still early days and much more research needs to be done to understand how to encourage people to eat less meat, ultimately, making meat-free options more appealing will be key to reducing long-term meat consumption.


Explore further:
Vietnam’s capital urges residents to stop eating dog meat

Journal reference:
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

Provided by:
The Conversation

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles