In a new study from Oxford University, researchers found that, in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and across Western Europe, adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet could slash your food bill by up to one-third.
By contrast, pescatarian diets increased costs by up to 2%.
In the study, the team focused on whole foods and did not include highly-processed meat replacements or eating at restaurants or takeaways.
The study also found that in lower-income countries, such as on the Indian subcontinent and in sub-Saharan Africa, eating a healthy and sustainable diet would be up to a quarter cheaper than a typical Western diet, but at least a third more expensive than current diets.
It found that making healthy and sustainable diets affordable everywhere is possible within the next 10 years when economic development, especially in lower-income countries, is paired with reductions in food waste and a climate and health-friendly pricing of foods.
The team says affording to eat a healthy and sustainable diet is possible everywhere, but requires political will.
The western-style diets, often seen as aspirational, are not only unhealthy but also vastly unsustainable and unaffordable in low-income countries.
Any of the healthy and sustainable dietary patterns we looked at are a better option for health, the environment, and financially, but development support and progressive food policies are needed to make them both affordable and desirable everywhere.
If you care about diets, please read studies about this diet linked to blinding eye diseases in older people and findings of half of diabetic Americans need to get more protein in their diets.
For more information about diet and your health, please see recent studies about type 2 diabetes: more than one type of diet can help people achieve remission and results showing that a diet consisting mainly of fruit is bad for you.
The study is published in The Lancet Planetary Health. One author of the study is Dr. Marco Springmann.
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