This is good news Monday, and today’s good news (which was not easy to find with Hurricane Sandy dominating the news) is that people who move away from animal-based diets to plant-based diets can expect to live a decade longer than traditional meat-eaters.  This represents a major conclusion of a series of studies from the Loma Linda University in California which tracked tens of thousands of Seventh Day Adventists since 1958.  Additionally, this research specifically identifies foods in vegetarian diets that can:

  • Reduce an individual’s risk for diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes;
  • Control body mass index; and
  • Boost brain health.

Known as the Adventist Health Study 2, this research project is still underway.  The sample population includes 96,000 people from the United States and Canada.  Seventh Day Adventist members were selected for this study because their religion specifically promotes vegetarianism and discourages drinking, smoking and drug use.  Statistics show that California Vegetarian Adventist men live to an average of 83.3 years and that state’s Vegetarian women to 85.7 years, representing 9.5 and 6.1 years longer, respectively, than other Californians.  This study population also was 25% African-American and half vegetarian.

Other findings of this study are as follows:

  • Vegans generally 30 pounds lighter than meat eaters.
  • Vegans overall have a BMI that is 5 units lighter than meat eaters.
  • Vegetarians and vegans are less insulin-resistant than meat eaters.
  • Lean people are more likely to exercise regularly, eat plants and avoid cigarettes than overweight people.
  • People who limit ingestion of animal products, but eat meat sparingly, have “intermediate protection” against lifestyle diseases.
  • Obesity cuts the lives of African-Americans by 6.2% and across the races, the protective quality of fat in seniors was not observed.

This study presents a very convincing argument on the need to restrict or eliminate the ingestion of animal products largely because it covers such an extensive study period and incorporates a very large and diverse population.  Combined with other evidence on the adverse consequences of meat consumption, including, but not limited to, reduced availability of grains for human consumption, increased carbon footprint, destruction of land by grazing animals, and lack of compassion for animals, the option of vegetarianism or veganism is becoming an important choice for a healthy life and a great way to live green, be green.

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Eat veggies to live longer!

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