Switching to a vegetarian diet can increase longevity by 20 percent and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions

 Wednesday, July 02, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Saving the planet and extending one’s lifespan in the process could be as simple as switching to a vegetarian diet, according to a new study out of California. Researchers from Loma Linda University say that sticking with fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts rather than meat products may help boost longevity by as much as 20 percent, as well as reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that some say are contributing to climate change.Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), the study looked at food systems around the world and how they are contributing to so-called global warming. The diets of vegetarians were compared with the diets of semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians to look for specific variances in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as total mortality between groups.In terms of overall mortality, those who adhere to strict vegetarian diets were found to fare 20 percent better than those who occasionally or regularly eat meat. It was also determined that vegetarian diets can achieve as much as a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, based on the inputs and outputs of food production within this particular agricultural paradigm.

Consuming animal products, on the other hand, and especially those procured on industrial factory farms, is continuing to damage climate patterns. According to the scientists who worked on the study, meat production using these Western methods is unsustainable and will only continue to cause problems as the global population expands.

“The takeaway message is that relatively small reductions in the consumption of animal products result in non-trivial environmental benefits and health benefits,” stated Dr. Sam Soret, Ph.D., M.P.H., an associate dean at Loma Linda’s School of Public Health and one of the co-authors of the study.

Vegetarian diet can help the planet avoid catastrophe, believe scientists

The first of its kind to use a large, living population, the study drew from data collected as part of the Adventist Health Study, which included more than 96,000 individuals who identify as Seventh-day Adventists. This pool of participants was diverse both in terms of ethnicity and geographical location, providing the ideal data set for making an accurate assessment.

“The study sample is heterogeneous and our data is rich,” added Dr. Soret. “We analyzed more than 73,000 participants. The level of detail we have on food consumption and health outcomes at the individual level makes these findings unprecedented.”

In a separate paper along the same lines, researchers suggest a large-scale return to plant-based diets. Making this switch, they say, will promote long-term sustainability and food security, and help the planet avoid a disastrous end. No mention is made, however, of sustainable ways to raise animals for food that do not involve factory feedlots and genetically modified (GM) crops for animal feed.

“Both papers demonstrate that the production of food for human consumption causes significant emissions of greenhouse gases and compare the environmental impacts of producing foods consumed by vegetarians and non-vegetarians,” explains ScienceDaily.

Abstracts of both studies can be accessed at the following two links:
AJCN.Nutrition.org and AJCN.Nutrition.org.

Sources for this article include: