Photo: Flickr/Meng He
Becoming a vegetarian is a noble choice, though apparently one that’s also short-lived. In a recent article from Psychology Today, Dr. Hal Herzog investigated a statistic from a 2005 survey by CBS news, which found that 75% of vegetarians eventually revert back to their meat-eating ways.
In order to find out why so many vegetarians ultimately return to an omnivorous lifestyle, Dr. Herzog created a survey eliciting former plant-eaters to answer questions about why they stopped consuming animal products in the first place, and then went back to eating meat.
70-seven ex-vegetarians responded to the questionnaire, the majority of whom, Dr. Herzog points out, were women in their late 20s.
The majority of participants (57%) stopped eating meat for ethical reasons, followed by health and environmental reasons (both 15%). The remaining 13% of respondents gave up the fleshy protein because they did not like the taste or because of social pressure.
The most common reason for resuming a plant- and animal-based diet was listed as declining health — some lapsed vegetarians said they felt weak and sickly — followed by hassles and social stigmas associated with strict vegetarianism — like the high-cost of fresh produce or having a difficult time eating at restaurants. One in five participants said irresistible cravings drove them to eat meat again, while only two people attributed a “shift in moral thinking” for their return to omnivory.
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