vegetarian man
by Ali Berman
Categories: Healthy Living, Science, Vegetarian.

A new study from researchers at Loma Linda University in California suggests that vegetarians and vegans may outlive their omnivorous friends.

A group of 70,000 people participated in the study, and findings showed that those who passed on meat had a 12% lower risk of death. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, isn’t conclusive, but one only has to look at the countless other studies that show vegans and vegetarians have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension among other health issues, to see the links between living a longer life and choosing plants instead of animals.

Michael J. Orlich, program director of the preventive medicine residency at Loma Linda University, said, “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.” According to Time Health and Family, Orlich also said, “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.”

Plant based foods like blueberries, broccoli, garlic (and pretty much any vegetable we can think of) have incredible benefits. From helping with blood pressure to reducing one’s chance of cancer, plant based foods are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants making them perfect to help prevent disease.

One interesting piece of the study suggested that men had more to gain than women by going vegetarian or vegan. Orlich wasn’t sure why men had a lower risk of heart disease and death than women, but said, “I don’t have any strong speculations, but it could be that the diet is playing out differently due to biological factors in men and women.”

Either way, this study reinforces the many that have come before. There are many health benefits to giving up animal products. The promise of lower risk of disease and therefore enjoying a longer life might just convince some omnivores to give up the steak and embrace a plant based diet.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • Chel Hamilton

    Interesting to note that this study was done in Loma Linda, CA – home to a very large group of 7th Day Adventists, most of who eat a vegetarian (mostly ORGANIC) diet, and who take long walks in nature on Saturdays as part of their faith. They are also one of the groups on the planet referred to as the “Blue Zone People” – people who live the longest, with the least amount of disease. So is it really just their vegetariam diet? Or are regular exercise, eating organic, having faith, and a focus on community truly the defining factors? The Blue Zone studies would suggest their longevity has more to do with exercise, organic, faith, and community; than meat or no meat.

    Personally I eat a bit of meat, (mostly fish, mostly the little ones) but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat a “plant-based diet.” I do. At least 80% of my daily intake volume is plant-based. What I don’t eat is wheat, soy, corn, or rice. (and my dairy intake is less than 8oz a week.)

    I find it funny that many people who say they eat a plant-based diet actually eat a “grain-based” diet with some green stuff tossed in! :)

  • cybergabi

    While I am a vegan myself, the conclusion that the risk of death among us is 12% lower is BS. We are ALL going to die, the question is just when and how.