The uptake of vegan diets has increased ‘dramatically’ in recent years, with those making the switch citing various reasons including perceived health benefits, reduced environmental impact and improved animal welfare.
The transition to a vegan diet is an opportunity to consume more plant foods, such as whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables whilst excluding the saturated fat and cholesterol found in meat, milk and eggs.
The research found that if everybody in England ate a plant-based diet, NHS expenditure could be reduced by an estimated £6.7 billion per year, with 2.1 million fewer cases of disease and a gain of more than 170,000 quality-adjusted life years across the population.
Claire Ogley, head of campaigns, policy and research at the Vegan Society, said: “It’s encouraging to see increasing evidence that plant-based diets can be not only beneficial to individual health but could also benefit the NHS on a bigger scale.
“As the report illustrates, wider uptake of plant-based diets could free up billions of pounds of funding to invest back into England’s hospitals and services. Policymakers should consider supporting and encouraging plant-based diets as part of public health campaigns to realise these benefits to the health service in the UK.”