Most Vegetarians Go Back to Meat

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Are you a vegetarian? Have you always been? This may surprise you, but if you made the choice to become a vegetarian, there’s a really good chance that you’ll be back to eating meat soon enough. That’s what a recent study by the Humane Research Council found: astonishingly, 84% of the vegetarians and vegans go back to eating meat and/or animal products. That’s based on a pool of 11,000 vegetarians and former vegetarians surveyed for the study.

I’m a meat eater. I’ve been a meat eater my whole life. As a Chicagoan, it’s pretty much a requirement. In fact, when I learned what a vegetarian was when I was younger, I proudly proclaimed that I was a meatitarian. This isn’t to say that I don’t respect vegetarians. I do. I just happen to think that vegetables taste better when paired with beef/chicken/pork/lamb/fish/etc.

While all of the results of the study aren’t listed (that 84% relapse stat I mentioned isn’t on there), this infographic sums it up fairly well:

2014veginfographicSo, vegetarians of Fly&Dine? Are you going to stick with it or back-slide into the carnivorous world? Talk about it down below.

Infographic via Humane Research Council


  1. I prefer to think of myself as a vegetarian who eats bacon. Bacon makes the veggies taste better. Don’t eat much of any other meat. But bacon makes everything taste better.

    • Same here! I never thought I would find someone else with me on this haha. I’m 26 now and that’s been my general diet since being a kid.

  2. I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for over 20 years now. I did it for health (though now I also relate to some of the other reasons) and don’t see myself going back.

  3. I was raised ovo-lacto vegetarian, and went vegan in my mid-20s. I’m now 40. There’s no chance I’d ever lapse, as my brain just doesn’t register non-vegan foods as anything desirable. It does give certain challenges to traveling, as you can imagine, but in most parts of the world it’s possible to overcome those with a little planning.

    As far as people lapsing is concerned, my observation is that people who do not consider the consequences to nutrition of any diet tend to suffer the transition more, and they are prone to relapsing. Somewhat ironically, those go vegetarian for health reasons are more likely to lapse because there is a feeling of ill-health that is often associated with nutrient depletions (whether unhealthy or merely relative to previously), which is somewhat contrary to their intent. Some have described it as being like mild drug withdrawal, with quite strong cravings. This is particularly prevalent with those that “believe” vegetarianism is more healthy without actually looking into the details. I’ve encountered some people that switch all of their meat consumption to dairy and eggs, and that’s a terrible approach that almost always results in problems. Those that do it for ethical reasons, however, tend to work through it, or get dietary advice if they mess up.

    That being said, I’ve also found that those that go into a relationship with a stronger-willed person who is not vegetarian, and those who move to a very vegetarian-unfriendly part of the world, are also more prone to lapsing.

  4. Been vegan now for 21 years and was lacto-ovo vegetarian for 3 years prior to that. I even married a great vegan woman. I think if this study focus on ethical vegans they slide back rate would be greatly reduced.

  5. I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 20 years. I do not feel I will revert. I eliminated beef then followed with pork and chicken, etc. I did it for health, love of animals and now environmental concerns. None of my family or friends are vegetarians. After a while you adjust. When traveling breakfast buffets are great as they offer a wide variety of foods.

  6. I’m also from Chicago, but have been vegetarian since 1990 and will remain so for the rest of my life. I love food, but there’s so much great food that does not include meat. While everyone must make their own dietary choices, most carnivores simply do not stop to consider what they are eating….it’s dead, rotting animal flesh and sinew. To me, the idea of voluntarily eating that is as disgusting as the concept of cannibalism would be to a carnivore.

  7. Once I really became conscious that cows, pigs, chickens are social, intelligent beings and the horrible treatment they are subject to, I stopped eating meat. I will never again eat meat – it’d be like eating my cat or dog. Still working on giving up dairy 100%. I tend to lapse on airplanes and when presented with pizza.

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