There are some vegetarians for whom this dietary path just makes them feel better. Others do it because it is part of their cultural heritage. Others still, find the health benefits remarkable, or are rebelling against the inhumane meat industry. But a new study reveals that diehard vegetarians are in the minority. For the most part, those who try vegetarianism don’t stick with it. Instead, the dietary proclivity is for many, a passing phase. The Humane Research Council is an animal rights advocacy group. They teamed up with the pollsters at Harris International to conduct a survey. They found that 84% of vegetarians, including vegans, return to an omnivorous lifestyle. 53% shed vegetarianism within one year. 30% went back to eating meat within three months’ time. Pollsters surveyed 11,000 American adults for this study. 2% were at the time of polling either vegetarian or vegan. 10% had experimented with vegetarianism. 88% had always been omnivorous.
Council members called the results “disappointing.” Investigators looked into why those who had tried vegetarianism didn’t stick with it. Most said they didn’t have social support in their decision. Social occasions or activities where food is offered serve dishes with meat in them. It also made the would-be vegetarians appear different from their peers, something many chafe at. Lots of research shows that people generally eat what those around them, friends and family, eat. Other reasons were it was hard to quit cold turkey, and some had cravings for certain foods or products. Optimists point out that although there are less steadfast or absolute vegetarians, there are many people in society interested in vegetarian options, overall. Today, people’s diets vary so widely. Just in this category alone there are vegans, vegetarians, ovum-lacto vegetarians, part-time vegetarians, and even those who merely celebrate meatless Mondays. But if people are eating less meat and more healthful vegetarian options, this is good for their heart health and for the environment as well.