In recent years, more and more studies have indicated the relationship between eating meat and the high incidence of cardiovascular disease, various cancers, and even mortality.

Health ministries in Israel and around the world are embracing these findings. In 2016, the World Health Organization published recommendations to the general population stating that consumption of processed meat and red meat should be restricted. As a result, similar recommendations were made around the world, including in Israel. At the same time, recommendations are published that encourage the consumption of plant-based foods. These recommendations are also backed by the world’s leading nutrition organizations and dietitians.

In light of this trend, even workplaces employing hundreds and thousands of workers are turning a spotlight on nutrition in the dining rooms. With the help of expert consultants, these places seek to increase the variety of vegetarian dishes served to employees and raise awareness of this health issue.

Health organizations recommend a Mediterranean diet based mainly on unprocessed natural foods, such as legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds – alongside reducing animal origin foods and avoiding ultra-processed foods such as cold cuts, processed meatballs, high-salt snacks and sugary drinks.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which are found naturally in plants, compared to the diet commonly used in the Western world which is characterized by foods high in simple sugar, salt and saturated fat.

The following are some of the findings of studies that explain why meat consumption should be reduced in the face of the obvious benefits of plant-based foods:

Meat contains saturated fat that has been found to raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Today, recommendations are increasing to favor a diet rich in unsaturated fat (such as nuts, almonds and seeds) over animal saturated fat. Replacing the daily serving of meat with a legume dish ensures a better response to the updated dietary recommendations. Legumes are a dish rich in protein, iron and dietary fiber, alongside being low in fat and sodium and cholesterol-free. Processed meat is usually high in sodium, saturated fat and even sugar associated with an increase in the spread of various diseases that characterize the “Western diet”.


Excess protein

The average person eats about twice the recommended amount of protein.

The health significance of excess protein is inconclusive, but it is clear that the excess protein will come at the expense of other food groups, for example whole carbohydrates, dietary fiber and good fats that are important for our health.

A varied diet rich in plant-based foods allows you to reach the dietary recommendations without exceeding the amount of protein.


Dietary fiber

Replacing your daily serving of meat with legumes will add dietary fiber to your daily diet.

Dietary fiber contributes to a feeling of satiation and helps remove excess cholesterol from the body, balance blood sugar levels, and, of course, improve digestion.

Studies indicate the benefit of dietary fiber to improve human health and extend quality and expectancy of life.

The daily dietary fiber recommendation is 14 grams of fiber per 1000 kcal (in the elderly population). Western society is characterized by not reaching the nutritional recommendations in relation to daily consumption of fiber. In Israel, only 16% of men and about 30% of women reach the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber for an adult.



Legumes like lentils and chickpeas contain more iron than meat.

One cup of legumes after cooking has the same amount of iron as half a kilo of chicken breast!

The main function of iron is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the various parts of the body, through hemoglobin molecules.

It is recommended to eat vegetables or fruits rich in vitamin C during the meal in order to improve the absorption of iron in the meal.