Meat and health
November 25th, 2021, YouGov

Meat and health

There has been long-running debate about whether eating meat is a healthy or unhealthy dietary choice. Ask Americans, and most fall in the “healthy” camp. YouGov US data shows that, when presented with the statement: “A meatless diet is a healthier diet” a third (33%) agree – but many more (48%) disagree.


Among meat eaters, this view is less popular still: three in five don’t believe meatless diets are healthier (59%). That said, a fifth (21%) still agree that a vegetarian or vegan diet is better for wellbeing, and a third of this group also say they’re “considering reducing” their meat intake (31%). This might not necessarily be on health grounds: a fifth (19%) say they feel guilty while eating meat and dairy products, while nearly three in five (56%) say quality meat is simply too expensive.

Perhaps more surprisingly, vegetarians and vegans aren’t uniformly agreed that meatless diets are better for you. While three-quarters of vegetarians agree that eating animal flesh is not conducive to health (74%), a fifth (18%) disagree; for vegans, it’s 84% compared to 11%. Again, there is a strong perception that good meat is simply too expensive (62% vegetarian; 69% vegan) – and guilt is a powerful motivator for this group too (72% vegetarian; 69%).


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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