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Save the Planet, Put Down that Hamburger

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People who follow a plant-based diet account for 75 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than those who eat more than 3.5 ounces of meat a day, and a vegan diet also results in significantly less harm to land, water and biodiversity, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

While the link between animal agriculture and environmental harm is well established, earlier studies used scientific modeling to reach those conclusions. By contrast, the Oxford research drew from the actual diets of 55,500 people — vegans, vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eaters — in the United Kingdom and used data from some 38,000 farms in 119 countries.

The peer-reviewed study, led by Peter Scarborough, a professor of population health at Oxford, was published on Thursday in the journal Nature Food.

If meat eaters in the United Kingdom who consumed more than 3.5 ounces of a meat a day (slightly less than the size of a quarter pound burger) cut their intake to less than 1.7 ounces a day (roughly the amount of a single McDonald’s meat patty) it would be the equivalent of taking 8…

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