For years, researchers at Loma Linda University in California have been conducting various studies to determine whether vegetarians and vegans live longer than the rest of the population. So far, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
The research was begun in 1958 and includes various studies of Seventh-day Adventists, who typically eat vegan foods as part of their religious practices. While the study is ongoing, the results already indicate that, on average, vegetarian men and women live at least nine and six years longer, respectively, than their meat-eating counterparts.
Research also indicates that, in general, vegans are 30 pounds leaner—and 5 units lighter in terms of body mass index—and that vegetarians and vegans are less insulin-resistant than meat-eaters.
Although many Seventh-day Adventists don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or consume caffeine, it’s obvious from the initial results of the study that their food choices also play a role in both their life expectancy and quality of life. While the researchers take into account the study participants’ genetics as well as social factors, it’s been noted that their eating habits are the primary reason they’re able to maintain a healthy bodyweight and enjoy a long, healthy life.
Other scientific studies are also showing that vegans tend to live longer. For example, when scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital monitored more than 130,000 people for 30 years, they found that vegans were considerably less likely to die at a young age than people who ate meat, eggs, and dairy-based foods. The research suggests that every 3 percent increase in calories from plant protein reduces one’s risk of death by 10 percent. That number increases to 12 percent when looking at heart disease.
In contrast, eating 10 percent more animal protein may lead to a 2 percent higher risk of death from all causes and an 8 percent greater chance of dying from heart disease. That’s no surprise, really. Meat, eggs, and dairy-based foods are high in artery-clogging cholesterol, saturated fat, and calories. They don’t contain fiber or various vitamins, and the hormones, toxins, and antibiotics that are often found in them have been linked to a litany of health problems.
Vegan foods are cholesterol-free, generally low in saturated fat, and high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients. They’re often packed with protein and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, and vegans can easily obtain all the vitamins (including B12 and D) and minerals (including calcium and iron) that they need.
So who do you think has a better chance of living longer?