Who lives longer – meat eaters or vegetarians? This is one of the most interesting questions ever asked. Let’s learn more about it here.
I believe the discussion between the meat eaters and vegetarians on why one should or should not eat meat is one of the most popular ones. Each side tries to prove its point by adding more scientific insights and studies to their answers. That is why recently one was conducted to see whether it is true that those who eat meat live longer than vegetarians. Is it true? We’ll see in a few seconds.
Why not eat meat?
First of all, let’s start with explaining the positions of each side about the attitude to having meat as a part of their daily diet. Apart from ethical reasons, vegetarians claim that there are at least fifteen other reasons to cut meat consumption. Here they are:
1. People that do not eat meat decrease the risk of getting cancer (25 to 50 percent fewer cases).
2. Vegetarians believe that this helps them avoid heart problems given the lower level of cholesterol consumption.
3. Not eating meat decreases the risk of having troubles with your kidneys.
4. Saying no to meat lowers your chances of being affected by toxic chemicals that factory-raised animals can have.
5. Not eating meat eliminates the risks of getting diseases that farm animals carry.
6. Vegetarians care about the environment and natural habitat (when animals are raised, forests and crops are neglected).
7. They do not eat meat to balance out the agricultural usage (today more than a half of all agricultural goods go to feeding animals on the farms)
8. Vegetarians state that raising animals is not environmentally-friendly considering the energy wasted in the process.
9. Too much water is used for the animal farms (at least half of all the water consumed is used for raising animals)
10. Animal farms functioning lead to ecological disaster given the environmental pollution it produces.
11. Too much meat can lead to the loss of bone calcium which detrimental to one’s health.
12. Eating animals violates their rights, as they are not treated properly on the factories.
13. Vegetarians do not eat meat as a sign of protest against the over-packed farms where animals do not have proper care and living conditions.
14. Eating meat is not a need but rather a whimsy, as people can live without meat with no problems.
15. Finally, they do not eat meat because they don’t want animals to be tortured on those farms.
Now as you know the reasons behind the decision not to eat meat, let’s see whether this makes vegetarian lifestyle healthier and allows them to live longer and better lives.
Do vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters?
Although being vegetarian has become a popular trend, people usually treat those who made a decision to avoid any animal products with suspicion. They often ask whether this lifestyle will not leave them deprived of protein and other valuable nutrients people, allegedly, receive from meat.
That is why scientists have decided to study this issue to find out whether vegetarians can live as healthy as meat eaters. Some people claim that vegetarians, in fact, live longer. But considering the scale of such a statement other scholars have decided to test it to see whether it is entirely accurate.
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Following is a quotation of the results of the study conducted by the Loma Linda University, which is the Seventh-day Adventist college in California. Here is what they have found out: “The method of research surveyed mortality rates among 73,308 Seventh-Day Adventist individuals, both men, and women. And between 2002 and 2007, researchers looked at five dietary patterns as variables: non-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pescovegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan. According to the Huffington Post, the results of the endeavor found that mortality rates during the study's timeframe were 12% lower for vegetarians, compared to non-vegetarians, whereas vegans saw an even lower mortality rate during the timeframe, or a 15% reduced risk of death.”\
The most interesting part of this study is that vegetarians that do not eat meat but still consume fish have the even lower level of mortality. This rate is at least 19% lower than that of the meat eaters.
Meanwhile, the mortality rate of vegetarians that eat eggs and dairy have their mortality rate at 9% while those called “semi-vegetarians” have their mortality rate at least 8% lower than that of people who eat meat.
Scholars have concluded that since vegetarians seem to live longer than those who eat meat, certain types of foods can help you prolong the healthy life of yours. Among these foods are all kinds of fruits and vegetables with special attention to the Mediterranean diet, plan-based diets and diets that do not contain animal products in them.
Products that can have an opposite effect are the meat of all kinds, eggs, and diets that are based on low consumption of carbohydrates.
Time comments that “vegetarians diets can help support low blood pressure, better moods, reduced heart disease, lower rates of cancer, reduced risk of diabetes and a lesser chance of being overweight.”
Nevertheless, scholars also indicate that there are many other factors that affect the mortality rate apart from healthy or unhealthy diets. That is why the results cannot be only judged and associated with the fact whether a person ate meat or tried to avoid it and ate plant-based meals.
Dr. Michael J. Orlich noted that "We can't tell from this current paper with certainty, but one of the most plausible potential reasons contributing to this beneficial association is perhaps the absence or reduction of meat intake. It could also be that consumption of various plant foods may be beneficially associated with reduced mortality, so we definitely want to look at those things on the food level in the future.”
As you see, eating meat and any other animal projects are considered as less healthy than plants, according to some scientists, the correlation between eating meat and mortality rates is not entirely objective. So, one caт say that it is true that vegetarians turn out to live longer; however, this is a result of several factors that work together rather than just their desire to stay away from meat.