Vegetarianism is one of the prominent trends that the world is embracing. Whether for health benefits, environmental reasons, or simply in emulation of favourite celebrities, it has gained considerable traction over the years. While vegetarianism and veganism may sound similar, in reality, the concepts differ significantly. Vegetarianism involves abstaining from meat products and relying on food derived from plants, whereas veganism extends to the complete avoidance of all animal products, including dairy and honey. A recent report from World Atlas has compiled a list of countries with the highest rates of vegetarianism. According to the report, India claims the top spot, with 38 percent of its total population identifying as vegetarians. The roots of this dietary preference in India can be traced back to the introduction of Buddhism and Jainism around the 6th century BC when vegetarianism gained popularity in the region.
Also Read: Vegetarian Foods That Can Give You More Protein Than An Egg
It's worth noting that in India, some individuals adhere to Lacto-vegetarianism, where dairy products are included in their diet while eggs are excluded. This diverse spectrum of dietary practices reflects the cultural and historical influences shaping India's unique approach to vegetarianism. This is not all. Surprisingly, India boasts one of the lowest meat consumption rates worldwide. The report suggests that there might be more reasons behind the inclination towards vegetarianism than just health, environmental concerns, or the influence of favourite icons. It points out that factors such as religion, ethical motivations, economic considerations, distaste for meat, and cultural influences could also significantly contribute to this trend. Consequently, in India, vegetarianism is widespread among communities like Lingayats, Brahmins, Jains, and Vaishnavs.
India is followed by Israel, where 13 percent of the population identifies as vegetarian. Judaism is credited for introducing the concept of vegetarianism in Israel. The report notes that in Israel, vegetarianism is progressively evolving into a lifestyle choice, even for individuals who don't identify with any religious affiliation. Occupying the third and fourth spots, with 12 percent and 10 percent respectively, are Taiwan and Italy. The report details that in Taiwan, practices such as Hokkien, Hakka, and Buddhism have contributed to the cultivation of a plant-based culture in the nation.
Also Read: Vegetarian Diet: 5 Foods Rich In Vitamin B12 For Vegetarians
Meanwhile, Italy's efforts to promote vegetarianism are focused on educating the public about animal rights, environmental health, and human health. Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom secure the fifth, sixth, and seventh positions on the list, each with a 9 percent vegetarian population. Brazil holds the eighth spot with 8 percent, Ireland is in ninth place with 6 percent, and Australia concludes the list with a 5 percent vegetarian population.