Whether you eat meat all the time or prefer the vegetarian lifestyle, one thing’s for sure: you certainly know about the never-ending debate between vegetarians and meat eaters, which aims to prove which eating habit is healthier. Although the two opposing sides firmly believe that the other one is wrong, it seems that science could put an end to the decades-long argument.
The battle between die-hard meat eaters and equally passionate vegetarians could end with a final and complete vegetarian victory, according to a new study conducted at the renowned Mayo Clinic.
The research, which analyzed a total of six studies, found that people who don’t eat meat live longer than those who do. Namely, the study pointed out that people who were vegetarians for at least 17 years lived 3.6 years longer than people who ate meat during that time period.
As for the numbers, the researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona observed 1.5 million people. Their aim was to examine the effects a meat diet has on the human lifespan. Unfortunately for meat lovers, the results were not good.
The findings, published in the Journal of The American Osteopathic Association, showed that meat eaters are more prone to heart disease and cancer. What’s more, they had a higher chance of dying prematurely than vegetarians.
There’s more. If you’re especially fond of red meat, you should know that it is the number one factor that contributes to high mortality rates among meat lovers. To make matters worse, one study even found a connection between white meat and increased mortality from heart disease.
The scientists also came to the conclusion that there’s really no big difference between eating processed meats and other types of meat, which means that avoiding processed meats won’t have a significant impact on your health and overall well-being. In other words, just because you don’t eat sausages doesn’t mean you’ll live longer than people who consume them on a regular basis.
The worst discovery, however, is that people who eat meat are more likely to die than vegetarians even if they eat meat just once a week. Basically, the mortality rates increase with the (smallest) increase in meat consumption.
Here are some of the reasons vegetarians live longer than meat lovers:
It’s scientifically proven that a diet rich in veggies lowers your blood pressure, so not only do vegetarians have lower blood pressures than meat eaters but their diet could improve blood pressure levels in people whose health is endangered by hypertension.
This might seem like a subjective, non-measurable claim, but research has proven that vegetarians feel much happier than people who eat meat. They even experience better moods than people who only consumed fish.
To put it simply, vegetarians are less likely to be overweight or obese. As a matter of fact, a vegetarian diet can help people lose and maintain weight.
Vegetarians also have lower cholesterol levels.
A study conducted in 2013 found that vegetarians are 32% less likely to suffer from heart disease, as processed meats are mainly to blame for the development of cardiovascular problems.
A Loma Linda University study investigated the correlation between a vegetarian diet and cancer risk and found that vegetarians are less likely to get various types of cancer, especially cancers that are common among females.
Numerous studies have confirmed that vegetarians are at a lower risk of developing diabetes. Even though vegetarians can get diabetes, a vegetarian diet can significantly lower the chances by helping you maintain optimal body weight and improving your blood sugar levels.
Despite the overwhelming number of benefits associated with a vegetarian diet, it’s still important to note that meat lovers can be healthy and never develop a health problem that is linked to meat consumption. Moreover, a vegetarian diet also has its drawbacks: vegetarians usually don’t take in enough iron and children raised vegetarian can suffer some consequences for not eating all the necessary nutrients their bodies need to grow. Still, these disadvantages are pretty minor compared to the disadvantages of eating meat.