A recent study led by Human Research Council (HRC), a research group that vowed to reduce animal suffering, shows that 84 percent of US vegetarians give up their diet and turn back to eating meat. The two most common motives for abandoning the no-meat diet are lack of community support (84 percent) and sticking out of the crowd (63 percent).
It seems that social pressure is a key factor when relapsing to previous diets. Nevertheless, in the US is tough to be a vegetarian since 88 percent of its current population never tried/ heard about being a vegetarian. Among other difficulties encountered by Americans on meet-free diets are the daily struggle for keeping a pure diet, when so many US products abound in animal by-products (43 percent of respondents), and the cravings for meat (38 percent).
Researchers also say that many current US vegetarians find it difficult to maintain “a diet that positions them in the margins of society”, but they don’t know for sure if this is the main reason for giving up the diet or the diet’s restrictions.
In the study, 11.399 people aged 17 and over (veg or non-veg) and living in US were questioned during a three-year period. The study revealed that there are currently five times more vegetarians (10 percent) than current vegetarians (1.90 percent) on the US soil.
The study also shows that former vegetarians abandoned their diets because they adopted the wrong strategy such as transitioning too abrupt from one diet to another (65 percent transitioned over a couple of days/weeks), neglecting key nutrients (such as B12 supplements), isolating themselves from other active vegetarians or failing to find ways of resisting cravings or temptations.
“I was a vegetarian until this one time I drank whiskey and ate a piece of bacon at 4 a.m.,”
Chelsea Qualls, 24, who was a vegetarian for five years, said.
“I took a bite of my friend’s pizza, which happened to have bacon, and then the next morning we went to brunch, and I ordered more bacon because it was delicious,”
Qualls, former vegan in the last four years, said.
The study also revealed that 86 percent of vegetarians abandon diet as compared to 70 percent of former vegans. Researchers say this shows that vegans are far less likely to start eating meat, although very few people are opting for a vegan diet (vegan diet means no meat and diary products).
When asked why they went for a vegetarian diet, former vegetarians said they did it for health (58 percent), taste preferences (31 percent), protecting animals (27 percent), environmental concerns (22 percent), social influence (15 percent), world hunger (12 percent (12 percent), religious beliefs (10 percent) or wanting to follow a food trend (8 percent).