The UK could save €7.54 billion if people ate more soya products, according to new research by the Journal of Nutrition. They believe that if just one in ten Brits included more soya in their diets, the cost savings could be that high.
They also believe that if people turned to eating more plant based foods, as opposed to animal based diets, the number of sick leave hours would drop considerably. The study compares the health and economic consequences of two different plant based eating patterns. The diets that they looked at had a daily portion of soya foods and the other was a Mediterranean-style diet.
The study concludes that the British government could reduce the costs on the healthcare sector and the impacts on public funding over the next 20 years by £5.21 billion if only 10 per cent of people in the UK had a more plant based approach to their diets.
The savings could be as high if 10 per cent of people introduced soya into their daily diets. Lieven Annemans, the professor of health economics at Ghent University and the lead author of the study said: “Our research demonstrates that increasing plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live, and enabling them to continue having an active life.
“Our study has the potential to contribute to the way healthy eating is promoted.” The researchers studied other scientific literature at the time, confirming that including plant based foods reduce the risk of developing some forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The impact of these diets was calculated by ‘quality adjusted life years’ (QALYs), “which estimate the number of expected years of good health.” For the UK it was expected that “a diet containing soya is estimated to yield 159 QALYs and 100 QALYs per 1,000 men and women, respectively.”