Vegetarians have longer life expectancy than meat eaters, finds study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

A vegetarian diet could help men to live almost 10 years longer, suggest the researchers.
A vegetarian diet could help men to live almost 10 years longer, suggest the researchers.
Following a vegetarian diet could mean you live more than nine years longer than you might by consuming meat based diets, according to new research findings.

The study data, released by researchers at the Loma Linda University, USA, finds that people following a vegetarian diet have a number of health benefits compared to those who consume meat – and top of those benefits is a longer lifespan, with vegetarian men living an average of 9.5 and women an average of 6.1 years longer than meat munching counterparts.

The data – presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2012 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo – come from the Adventist Health Study-2 cohort, which is currently midway to completion. The study is following 96,000 US and Canadian citizens – including thousands of  Seventh-day Adventists – to ascertain the potential health implications of vegetarian and meat based diets.

Seventh-day Adventists have long been known as advocates of a vegetarian diet.

Lead researcher, Gary Fraser revealed that the preliminary findings from the new study show that vegans are, on average, 13 kilograms lighter than meat eaters and five units lighter on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale than meat-eaters.

Fraser also claimed that pesco-vegetarians and semi-vegetarians who limit animal products, but still eat meat once a week or so, have ‘intermediate protection’ against lifestyle diseases.

Study details

The study data suggests that vegetarian Adventist men tend to live to an average of 83.3 years, while vegetarian women live 85.7 years – this is an average of 9.5 and 6.1 years respectively longer than other Californian citizens, Fraser explained.

Fraser revealed that the Adventist Health Study 2 found:

  • Vegans are, on average, 30 pounds lighter than meat eaters. 
  • Vegans are also five units lighter on the BMI scale than meat-eaters. 
  • Vegetarians and vegans are also less insulin resistant than meat-eaters. 
  • Lean people are also more likely to exercise regularly, eat plants, and avoid cigarettes than overweight people, suggesting that numerous factors are boosting the overall health of these participants. 
  • Pesco-vegetarians and semi-vegetarians who limit animal products, but still eat meat once a week or so, have "intermediate protection" against lifestyle diseases. 
  • Obesity cuts an African-American's life span by 6.2%.

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3 comments

Studies differ wildly

Posted by PlusSizeUSA.com,

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Slightly-overweight-people-may-live-longer-study-suggests

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It may have little to do with the meat...

Posted by Alexander Harvard,

It is an interesting debate, but to test it in this way seems to me to have a few problems.

Firstly, those who are vegetarians are most probably less likely to smoke, drink to excess, and to all intensive purposes be much better off. They would be more likely to be of a higher socioeconomic status, and therefore be under much less stress.
(So in essence, they really are quite boring; but thats my opinion)

All of these other factors could lead to increased longevity; it may have nothing, if little, to do with the lack of meat in their diet.

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It's true

Posted by Sara Sawochka,

Studies have shown that many vegans live longer than non-vegans. I think it's great example for people who eat meat to stop.

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