Food & Drink

Study reveals that most vegetarians are big old quitters

Everyone makes commitments they later regret -- remember that time you thought you could pull off a mohawk? And on the spectrum of risky decisions, forgoing all meat is a pretty huge one. So huge in fact, that most people cut and run within a calendar year. Intel collected by the Humane Research Council shows that 84% of vegetarians or vegans go back to meat, with 53% of them making the switch in 365 days or less.

The HRC surveyed 11,000 adults to compile their report on vegetarianism and veganism. While 88% of the population has never gone meatless in their lives, 10% are former vegetarians/vegans and 2% are active ones. (That means there're around 24 million quitters and 5 million vegheads in America.) Looking at the ex-vegetarians, about half gave up by the year's end, and over 30% lasted just three months. So why did they surrender? Well, apart from the obvious reasons (bacon, steak, bacon), most of them said they hated how their diet made them stick out and cited a lack of support from like-minded, leafy folk. Carnivorous cravings were also a factor -- plus separate studies reveal concerns about maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet. Whatever the excuse, it's clear that sticking to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is a challenge for most people. But there's a silver lining, quitters: you can now eat a Triple Coronary Bypass burger anytime you like.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and has a long childhood history of quitting recreational sports. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.