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Motivations of current and former animal product limiters are different.

Some people make a gradual change to a vegetarian or vegan diet, while some change overnight. Some people stay vegetarian for many years, and others do not. The Vegetarian Resource Group has examined the motivations of people who remain vegetarian or vegan. (See <> for more information.) Researchers from Western Washington University recently compared motivations of current and former animal product limiters. Current animal product limiters were categorized as vegans (118), lacto-ovo vegetarians (48), fish-eaters (22), and others (8). Most had been limiting animal products for more than six years. Former animal product limiters were categorized as now eating meat once or twice weekly (more than half), eating meat regularly (15), or eating meat if there were no other choices (5).

Current limiters tended to be younger than former limiters and were more motivated by ethical food choices and by health. Their eating pattern tended to be more of a part of their self-identity compared to former limiters. Vegans were more likely to be motivated by ethical and environmental factors than were lacto-ovo vegetarians or fish-eaters. Health motivations were similar among all three groups. Former animal product limiters cited factors such as difficulty with preparing foods, boredom, and cravings for meat as the main reasons for returning to meat-eating. They were more likely to have made the initial change to a vegetarian or near-vegetarian diet abruptly and not to have had support from a vegetarian or vegan group.

These results suggest that motivations and factors such as self-identity and involvement with a vegetarian or vegan group can make it more likely that people will stay vegetarian or vegan.

Haverstock K, Forgays DK. 2012. To eat or not to eat. A comparison of current and former animal product limiters. Appetite 58:1030-36.

By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, FADA

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Title Annotation:Scientific Update: A Review of Recent Scientific Papers Related to Vegetarianism
Author:Mangels, Reed
Publication:Vegetarian Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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