More opting out of meat

A large number of Canadians are considering more plant-based and dairy-free diet options, a new survey shows.

Many Canadians have considered reducing or eliminating meat by following vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian diets.

The revision and elimination of traditional food groups in Health Canada's Food Guide combines meat and dairy products into one 'protein' category, and Health Canada has also recommended that Canadian's eat more plant-based foods.

According to the study by Insights West, 18 per cent of Canadians have previously tried vegetarian diets and six per cent have tried vegan diets – but only five per cent are currently vegetarian and only two per cent are vegan.

However, the new study shows there is a growing trend among Canadians wanting to follow plant-based diets, with 27 per cent of individuals considering a vegetarian diet and 11 per cent considering a vegan diet.

Canadians aged 18-34 are more likely to consider plant-based diets, with 38 per cent considering vegetarian diets and 17 per cent considering vegan diets.

For dairy products, 11 per cent of Canadian's have already reduced or removed dairy from their diet and another 26 per cent are considering it, with younger generations more likely to do so.

Of Canadians between 18 and 34, 36 per cent are likely to consider removing dairy from their diets and 28 per cent of those between 35 and 54 have also considered. For those 55 and over, only 18 per cent have considered removing dairy.

As for pescatarian diets, which include seafood but not other meat, only three per cent follow this, with 13 per cent considering it.

In recent years, the Keto and Paleo diets have become popular for individuals managing their weight and intermittent fasting has become the most common.

Eleven per cent of Canadians have tried Keto, four per cent have tried Paleo and 16 per cent have tried intermittent fasting, with 28 per cent considering it in the future.

According to the study, gluten-free diets are followed mainly for health reasons including allergies and intolerances, with three per cent of Canadian's not consuming any gluten and five per cent following a reduced gluten diet. 

Overall, 52 per cent of Canadians have never followed a specific diet and 67 per cent aren't following any restrictive diets.

In B.C. alone, 25 per cent of people have tried a vegetarian diet, which beats the national average by 18 per cent.

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