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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Want to do something good for the environment? Put down the hamburger.

Meat-eaters do twice as much damage to the environment as vegetarians, a new study claims.

The research, which was done by Oxford University scientists and is published in the latest issue of the journal Climatic Change, found that meat-eaters had carbon footprints about double the size of those who consumed only plants.

To come to that conclusion, the scientists looked at the diets of thousands of meat-eaters, vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians using a food frequency questionnaire. Then they approximated the greenhouse gases let off by more than 130 food products and calculated the approximate GHG [green house gas] for each person based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

“After adjustment for sex and age, an average 2,000 kcal high meat diet had 2.5 times as many GHG emissions than an average 2,000 kcal vegan diet,” the researchers conclude. “This work demonstrates that reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation.”

To read more on the study, click here.

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