Reading this article, we are qualitatively informed about the health benefits and environmental impact of various types of vegetarianism. The summary:
- Vegan - clearly healthier on average than meat-eaters, most environmentally friendly
- Lacto Vegetarian - healthier on average than meat-eaters, still higher risks of certain diseases than vegans, environmentally friendlier than average
- Lacto-ovo Vegetarian - healthier on average than meat-eaters, still higher risks of certain diseases than vegans, environmentally friendlier than meat-eaters
- Flexitarian - if meat consumption is greatly reduced, healthier than average omnivores, environmentally friendlier than meat-eaters, but still support animal farming industry
I will define "cost" the total effort put by someone to adopt one of the styles defined above: financial, time, (almost) always taking care what you eat (stress).
I am interested in assessment of the most "cost" effective style in a Western society where vegetarianism is rather the exception (i.e. one of the countries listed here, with less than 5%). To simplify things, I want to reference this "cost" primarily against the health benefits and secondarily against environment impact.
The cost is clearly very subjective, but I think the health benefits can be studied.
Question: Are there any studies that show if there are major health benefits differences between a very low meat eater flexitarian and other types of vegetarians?
My feeling is that being a flexitarian who rarely eats some meat and has a balanced diet otherwise (no excess of dairy products) will still have many of the same health benefits as other types of vegetarians. But, I am interested in research results.