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Vegetarians May Live Longer

06/06/2013 | By Sharmila Chauhan
A new study, published in the esteemed JAMA Internal Medicine, journal suggests that people who eat meat or fish, less than once a week, have a lower risk of death compared to those who ate fish and meat more than once a month.

Although this is not by any stretch a fully conclusive study, it does highlight the importance of a healthy diet. The study looked at the diet of 73,308 men and women as part of the Adventist Health Study 2. Members of the Seventh Day Adventist church (a Christian denomination) practice healthy diet and lifestyle as a tenet of Adventist teaching.

The study assessed people’s diets when they entered the study (but not during the study) and put them into one of five dietary patterns:

• non-vegetarian (ate fish and meat more than once per week)
• semi-vegetarian (ate fish and meat but not more than once per week)
• pesco-vegetarian (ate seafood at least once per month but all other meats less than once per month)
• lacto-ovo-vegetarian (consumed dairy and egg products but fish and all other meats less than once per month)
• vegan (consumed eggs, dairy, fish and all other meats less than once per month)

The results showed that vegetarians (all vegetarians combined) had a 12% reduction in the risk of death from any cause compared with non-vegetarians. “Vegetarian diets are association with lower all-cause mortality and with some reductions in cause-specific mortality. Results appeared to be more robust in males. These favourable associations should be considered carefully by those offering dietary guidance, ” said researchers about the study.

The exact reasons for this difference are not clear and it is worth remembering that this study population – generally live healthy lives; tend to be non smokers and exercise regularly. So whilst you may not want to give up meat entirely; you may want to incorporate some more healthy eating habits into your own lifestyle. Can’t do any harm either way.