If you're interested in reducing your meat consumption and would like a helping hand, there's a new free programme that you might be interested in. It has helped frequent meat eaters to halve their consumption in just over nine weeks, a trial has found.
The trial, by researchers at the University of Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People programme, also found the routine was popular with participants, who felt it supported them to change their diet, and the results have been published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Many people wish to reduce their meat consumption, whether for health or environmental reasons, or animal welfare concerns. The researchers used the psychological principles employed by weight-loss apps to help boost participants’ resolve.
They developed an online platform called the Optimise meat tracker (standing for online programme to tackle individuals’ meat intake through self-regulation). It's easy to use and helps participants set goals and then record their daily intake of food, receiving weekly feedback on how they have done.
“We know that people tend to underestimate the amount of meat they eat, the health and environmental impacts of their meat consumption; we also know that our meat-eating habits are strongly engrained. This process of self-regulation tries to tap into all of that,” said Dr Cristina Stewart at the University of Oxford, who led the research.
“There were really small, manageable strategies, which showed us that reducing your meat intake doesn’t have to be really daunting or happen overnight: small reductions add up.”
“Many participants mentioned in their feedback that the self-monitoring aspect was an eye-opener and made them realise they ate much more meat than they realised, and that they found this particularly motivating,” says Stewart.