Scientists hypothesize that if humans do not eat meat, they will save at least one third of their arable land.

 Scientists hypothesize that if humans do not eat meat, they will save at least one third of their arable land.

Beijing Daily of Science and Technology, August 12 (Reporter Zhang Menglan), a model study published recently in the Science Report of the Natural Science Research Branch, shows that the use of vegetable food containing protein instead of meat can still meet key nutritional needs, and can no longer use pasture, and reduce the cultivated land needed for grain (including feed) production by 3. 5%-50%. This study shows that the following benefits also include a reduction in nitrogen fertilizer and greenhouse gas emissions, while only food-related water use will increase.

Gidden Asher, a researcher at Bard College in the United States, and his colleagues used computer models to design hundreds of plant foods to replace beef or three major meat products in the United States: beef, poultry and pork. The ingredients of this kind of vegetable food mainly include soybean, green pepper, pumpkin, buckwheat and asparagus.

The teams goal is to simulate a range of plant foods with at least the same nutritional value as meat, and possibly even more nutritious, and to assess their environmental impact. Simulated vegetable foods strictly match the protein content of the meat they replace - beef 13 grams of protein per day or all three kinds of meat 30 grams per day in total; at the same time, they also meet the requirements of 43 other nutrients, such as vitamins and fatty acids.

Buckwheat and tofu provide one third of all protein in a plant-based diet that replaces three types of meat, but only 12% of the nitrogen and water needed to produce these meat and less than 22% of the arable land needed. Soybean provides the largest amount of protein in vegetable foods that replace beef, but only 6% of the total nitrogen needed to produce beef.

The team estimates that replacing meat with vegetable foods in the United States, for example, could save 29 million hectares of arable land, 3 billion kilograms of nitrogen fertilizer per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 280 billion kilograms, while food-related water use is expected to increase by 15%.

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Not long ago, the United Nations issued a report on climate change, saying that in order to control global warming, people have to change their diet, eat more food and eat less meat. Raising livestock consumes more land resources, growing grass and making fertilizers also produces a lot of carbon dioxide, and animals themselves emit methane. So the question arises. If there are alternative food plants, will humans give up part of their appetite properly? However, it is a long process to change dietary habits. It also involves the change of land use and production and management. If we really want to change, it depends on how determined we are to fight global warming.

Source of this article: responsible editor of Science and Technology Daily: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541