If you care deeply about the environment but have a penchant for burgers, a new study may convince you to curb your beefy ways. According to Reuters, researchers at Oxford University have published a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that estimates the “health and climate change impacts of a global move toward a more plant-based diet.” The study says that if people go vegan they would live longer and would cut planet-warming emissions substantially in the process.


The researchers say that by eating less meat and upping fruit and vegetable intake, the world could prevent “several million deaths per year by 2050.” They add that billions of dollars in annual health care costs and climate damage could also be saved.


The scientists modeled the effects of four diets—vegan, vegetarian, a standard diet, and one that follows global guidelines on limiting red meat and sugar intake. They found that if the world followed a vegan diet, sans all animal products including milk and cheese, that 8.1 million fewer people would die by 2050. The diet that limited red meat and sugar would help avert 5.1 million deaths. The researchers say that they don’t expect “everybody to be vegan,” but they want to show how adopting more sustainable diets could be a “large step in the right direction.”


The vegan movement has been gaining some steam over the past few years with a number of big companies now offering vegan products. Last November, Guinness announced that it was going completely vegan and would no longer use fish bladders to filter its stouts. And earlier this year, Ben & Jerry’s dropped a line of vegan ice creams for the first time.

[via Reuters]