Can eating a vegan diet save you money?

Posted: 7 September 2023 | | No comments yet

Recent research suggests that going vegan can trim grocery costs by 16 percent while delivering significant health benefits.


With food inflation rates affecting people across the world, new research has claimed that food costs decrease by 16 percent on a low-fat vegan diet, with savings amounting to more than $500 a year.

Carrying out the analysis, researchers at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, also highlighted that these savings are not the only benefit to adopting a vegan diet.

In fact, co-author of the study Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, noted: “We knew that a vegan diet significantly reduces your risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—and now we have proof that opting for beans instead of beef will also lead to significant savings on your grocery bill.”

Published in JAMA Network Open, the research is an analysis of a Physicians Committee study in which participants were randomly assigned to a vegan group or control group. The vegan group was asked to follow a low-fat vegan diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Meanwhile the control group was requested to make no diet changes. Calorie intake and food costs were not limited for either group.

For the food cost assessment, the participants’ dietary records were linked to food price data from the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2021 Thrifty Food Plan.

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Results of the study showed that total food costs decreased in the vegan group by 16 percent, or $1.51 per day, compared with “no significant change” in the control group. The research team noted that the decrease was mainly attributable to savings on meat, -$1.77 per day, and dairy, -$0.74 per day. They also found that changes in purchases of other food groups (e.g., eggs and added fats) also contributed to the observed savings.

“These savings outweighed the increased spending on vegetables, +$1.03 per day; fruits, +$0.40 per day; legumes, +$0.30 per day; whole grains, +$0.30 per day, and meat and dairy alternatives,” the researchers explained.

As well as cost savings, the study highlighted that a low-fat vegan diet “resulted in weight loss and improved body composition and insulin sensitivity in overweight adults”.

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