Monday, March 26, 2007

Attitudes towards a meat diet, a vegetarian diet, and a vegan diet

If you are a vegetarian, what do you think a meat eater will think of your diet? I came across an interesting research article which examine the attitudes of different groups of people towards the different diets.

The four groups of people who participated were as follows: Meat eaters, Meat avoiders, Vegetarians, and Vegans.
The three types of diets which the participants were asked to give comments on were "Meat diet", "Vegetarian diet" and "Vegan diet".

Here's what they found:
  • Meat eaters were the only group among the four to show any positiveness towards their own diet. The strongest belief of meat eaters towards their own diet was the "taste" and "fattening".
  • The most significant belief in the other groups was negativity towards a meat diet ("unhealthy" and "cruel and barbaric". All the groups show such a belief.
  • The most significant believe of meat eaters, meat avoiders and vegetarians towards a vegetarian diet was that it's "healthy". While vegans' salient belief was that it's "hypocritical". Meat eaters show the most negativity towards a vegetarian diet.
  • The most significant belief of all the groups towards a vegan diet was that it's "restrictive".
  • Overall, people are most negative towards the diet which are most different from their own.

If you find it all too wordy, this table clears things up :)

I realised that meat avoiders have a very positive view of a vegetarian diet, but not a vegan diet. It's interesting that so many vegans think a vegetarian diet is hypocritical. As a vegan myself, I certainly do not think so. This study is really interesting, I think it can certainly help groups promoting a veg diet.

Picture source: R. Poveya, B.Wellensb and M.Conner; Attitudes towards following meat, vegetarian and vegan diets: an examination of the role of ambivalence; Appetite (2001) 37, 15-26

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