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.
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%.