Live Longer? Cut Out Meat. Really.

So maybe they've known something we haven't all along.   A new study has found that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Who's the healthiest?  The WSJ reports that a JAMA study revealed that some Seventh Day Adventists are among them.  This religious sect mostly tries to stay away from meat (and it was the one surveyed).

Granted, these are only 5% of the population, the story says, but people who chose vegetables over meat  were "19% less likely to die than meat-eaters" of heart disease.

"Vegetarians in the study experienced 12% fewer deaths over the period," Avery Johnson writes in the article.  Diabetes and kidney failure also killed far fewer vegetarians.

The study did not include vegans, who eliminate all dairy along with meat from their diets.

The jury is still out on why, but one reason may be a very obvious one --  vegetarians have diets which tend to be higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat, Johnson notes. "Vegetarians tend to be thinner, another factor known to have an effect on health outcomes," she quotes lead study author Dr. Michael Orlich, director of the preventive medicine residency program at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California.  This group did have another advantage -- their rates of alcohol and tobacco use are low, Dr. Orlich told Johnson.

Johnson points out that not all vegetarian meals are low in fat or calories, giving as an example a spring roll filled with vegetables, which can be loaded with saturated fat.  And lean cuts of meat are certainly healthy, too.

Vegetarians do have some health risks.  They need to be sure they have enough iron and zinc, frequently found in meat, and calcium and vitamin B12, in their diets. But overall, if you want to longer life, go veg.  No one said anything about a happier life, however!


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