Celebs today dish about their diets about as often as everyday folks discuss the weather, so it’s not surprising that Hollywood eating preferences can influence fans’ nutrition habits. And with vegetarianism on the rise — according to polls from the Vegetarian Resource Group, about 3.3 percent of the U.S. population was vegetarian in 2016, up from 1 percent in 1994 — we can’t help but suspect that the growing crop of outspoken celeb meat shunners is having an impact on the trend.
Some choose to go on a vegetarian diet or vegan diet (which means passing on any animal products) for health reasons, while others commit to the meat-free lifestyle for ethical or environmental concerns, says Lauren Manaker, RDN, owner of Nutrition Now, who’s based in Charleston, South Carolina. No matter the reason, it’s generally a healthy move, Manaker says. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (PDF), vegetarians tend to have healthier weights, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduced rates of cancer and type 2 diabetes compared with meat eaters.
But vegetarians (and especially vegans) need to be careful not to fall short on key nutrients, such as vitamin B12, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and zinc, Manaker adds. “Many of these micronutrients are derived from animal products, but with sufficient knowledge, can be obtained from plant-based sources,” she says.
Curious about which modern-day celebs have given up meat? Check out these 15 stars who shine on a vegetarian or vegan diet.