Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can Going Vegetarian Help You Live Longer? Maybe

PETA members hold placards on the street in Johannesburg. PETA members hold placards on the street in Johannesburg.

If you're looking for the definitive study that might persuade meat lovers to become vegetarians, this may not be it.

New published in finds that vegetarian diets are linked to a slightly lower risk of early death — about 12 percent lower over a period of about six years of follow-up. But the link to longevity was more significant in men compared with women.

The study is based on a one-time survey of more than 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists, a religion that emphasizes healthful diets and abstaining from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco as part of a godly lifestyle. Not all adherents are vegetarians, but the church considers a meatless diet to be the ideal.

The participants filled out a questionnaire so that researchers could determine whether they were meat eaters, semi-vegetarian, fish-eating vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarian (which the study defined as consuming meat or fish rarely, and eating eggs/dairy sometimes), or vegans.

The researchers found that men who were eating vegetarian diets were less likely to die from heart disease and other heart conditions. In women, there were no significant reductions in death from cardiovascular disease.

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