Vegetarians save so much water

A lot of people think about meat as a cruelty issue. But the trouble with meat goes far beyond that. Take water, for instance. A new study published in Nature looked at how much water goes into growing and processing food for people in different countries. Here’s how it shook down:

British: 728 gallons
German: 774 gallons
French: 1020 gallons

Fun fact: the authors figured out that the French use more water because they drink a lot of wine, which needs tons of water. British and German folks are more into beer.

Countries aside, the scientists found one way to reduce everyone’s water footprint: eat less meat. “Growing” an animal from birth to death takes a lot of water (and land). The scientists found that eating less meat really affects people’s water consumption. The vegetarians they looked at used 35-55 percent less water than people who eat meat. That was true no matter which country they were from.

“For all 43,786 analysed geographical entities, the water footprint decreases for a healthy diet containing meat,” write the study’s authors. “In other words, shifting to a healthy diet is not only good for human health, but also substantially reduces consumption of water resources.”

So if you are a vegetarian, you can feel proud to know that you are giving the world drinking water.