Being vegetarian may give you more heath benefits than eating meat, suggest Loma Linda University study.
In the '70s and '80s, a series of studies from Loma Linda University in California, which has tracked tens of thousands of Seventh-day Adventists since 1958, were the first to show that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters, according to the Huffington Post.
The studies also revealed that the kinds of foods frequently consumed in vegetarian diets — fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes — can reduce a person's risk for diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, control body mass index and waist size, and boost brain health.
In 2002, Loma Linda received a grant from the National Institutes of Health gave to continue the research on Seventh-day Adventists, branding this round of research Adventist Health Study 2.
The study, which is midway to completion and includes 96,000 people from the United States and Canada, presents findings just as dramatic, principal investigator Gary E. Fraser, MD, PhD, said at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' 2012 Food ‘n’ Nutrition Conference and Expo.
Vegetarian Adventist men live to an average of 83.3 years and vegetarian women 85.7 years — 9.5 and 6.1 years, respectively, longer than other Californians, Fraser explained.
The Adventist Health Study 2 also found that
- 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.
Perhaps the most staggering finding is that obesity cuts an African-American's life span by 6.2%.
The study population is 25% African-American and half vegetarian.