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Danny Kim for TIME

These Vegans Are More Likely to Stick With It

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People who go vegan for ethical reasons are more likely to stick to the diet than people who are vegan for health reasons, according to a new study.

Of the 246 vegans surveyed in a new study published by journal Appetite, those vegans who adopted the diet for health benefits were more likely to report eating more fruit and fewer sweets, while ethical vegans were more likely to follow the diet for a longer period of time. Ethical vegans reported following the diet for an average of about eight years, whereas health vegans kept to the diet for about five-and-a-half years. Ethical vegans were also more likely to consume soy and vitamin supplements.

The vegan diet has become increasingly popular in recent years, though only 2% of Americans identify as vegan, according to the most recent Gallup poll. To be vegan, dieters must not consume any animal products. The researchers in the new study wanted to assess whether the reasons people gave for going vegan affected their adherence to the diet and their health behaviors.

People who want to eat a vegan diet because they are interested in the health benefits may be eating healthier (it's still possible to eat dessert while vegan, as well as processed food), but they may not be able to sustain it as long as people who have chosen to be vegan for ethical reasons.

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