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New Study Finds Vegetarians Live Longer

Rebecca Dancer |
October 17, 2012 | 1:19 p.m. PDT


Veggies may lead to a longer life. (Creative Commons/Flickr)
Veggies may lead to a longer life. (Creative Commons/Flickr)
Studies comparing vegetarians to meat-eaters in the ‘70s and ‘80s were the first to show that plant-eaters, in fact, do live longer. The series of studies from Loma Linda University in California have followed tens of thousands of Seventh-day Adventists, who maintain a vegetarian diet, since 1958.

The study has shown that the types of foods commonly eaten by vegetarians, namely fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, can reduce a person’s risk for diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and also boost brain health, reports The Huffington Post.

In 2002, a second round of such studies was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study, which is midway through completion, includes 96,000 participants from the United States and Canada. 

Principal Investigator, Gary E. Fraser, MD, PhD, presented the new and dramatic findings at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s Food & Nutrition Conference this year. He found that on average, vegetarian Adventist men live 83.3 years, and women 85.7 years. These figures are respectively 9.5 and 6.1 years longer than other Californians, he explained. The study population consists of 50 percent vegetarians and 25 percent African-Americans.

The additional findings of the study are as follows:

  • Vegans are an average of 30 pounds lighter than meat-eaters
  • Vegetarians and vegans are less insulin resistant than meat-eaters
  • Obesity cuts an African-American’s life by 6.2 percent

So how do vegetarians get in their protein? The Huffington Post offers some meat-free options that still pack the same punch. On the top of the list are lentils, which contain 18 grams of protein in only one cup serving. Also on the list are garbanzo beans, Greek yogurt, tofu, spinach, quinoa, and peanuts.

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