Author Topic: Who lives longest: meat eaters or vegetarians?  (Read 1331 times)

Offline Eric

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Who lives longest: meat eaters or vegetarians?
« on: January 02, 2017, 10:46:00 AM »


"Our ability to live a long life is influenced by a combination of our genes and our environment. In studies that involve identical twins, scientists have estimated that no more than 30% of this influence comes from our genes, meaning that the largest group of factors that control how long a person lives is their environment.

Of the many possible environmental factors, few have been as thoroughly studied or debated as our diet. Calorie restriction, for example, is one area that is being investigated. So far, studies seem to show that restricting calories can increase lifespan, at least in small creatures. But what works for mice doesn't necessarily work for humans.

What we eat - as opposed to how much we eat - is also a hot topic to study and meat consumption is often put under the microscope. A study that tracked almost 100,000 Americans for five years found that non-meat eaters were less likely to die - of any cause - during the study period than meat eaters. This effect was especially noticeable in males.

Some meta-analyses, which combine and re-analyse data from several studies, have also shown that a diet low in meat is associated with greater longevity and that the longer a person sticks to a meat-free diet, the greater the benefit. Not all studies agree, however. Some show very little or even no difference at all in longevity between meat eaters and non-meat eaters.

What is clear is evidence that meat-free diets can reduce the risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer. There is some evidence to suggest that vegan diets possibly offer added protection above a standard vegetarian diet. These findings are far easier to interpret as they report the actual event of being diagnosed with a health problem rather than death from any cause.

So can we confidently say that avoiding meat will increase your lifespan? The simple answer is: not yet."

Your thoughts?

You can read the whole article at: http://www.catchnews.com/health-news/who-lives-longest-meat-eaters-or-vegetarians-1483361594.html?seq=2
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 10:52:14 AM by Eric »

Offline JayJay

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Re: Who lives longest: meat eaters or vegetarians?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 07:21:32 PM »
My thoughts? Correlation is not causation.

This is the same bunk "science" that the media promotes to make us all think meat causes cancer, and vegans live longer lives simply because they don't eat meat. What these useless observational studies don't account for is that people who choose to live vegan have generally healthier lifestyles on a whole. In other words, they usually don't smoke, don't drink in excess, exercise, and live in environmentally cleaner habitats. So what part of their lifestyle actually contributes to their statistically longer lives? Nobody knows but to claim it's because they don't eat meat is superficial and irresponsible.


Offline Eric

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Re: Who lives longest: meat eaters or vegetarians?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2017, 02:29:21 PM »
Agree, I think like many studies this one is similarly skewed.

Offline Warren Dew

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Re: Who lives longest: meat eaters or vegetarians?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2017, 05:02:48 PM »
I have a couple of thoughts.

The first one is basically what JayJay said.  There are all sorts of confounding factors in these studies; people who eat more meat tend also to eat more potatoes, bread, to smoke more, etc.

The second one is that supercentenarians - people over the age of 110 - all tend to eat animal protein in the form of meat or eggs.  The meat free folks seem to be winnowed out by then.

That said, I see the primary benefit of paleo as better health, especially in mature years.  If you really want to live longer, you have to look at things like calorie restriction, and that may not be worth the tradeoff for everyone.

Offline 2916132

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Re: Who lives longest: meat eaters or vegetarians?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 01:18:02 PM »
My thoughts? Correlation is not causation.

This is the same bunk "science" that the media promotes to make us all think meat causes cancer, and vegans live longer lives simply because they don't eat meat. What these useless observational studies don't account for is that people who choose to live vegan have generally healthier lifestyles on a whole. In other words, they usually don't smoke, don't drink in excess, exercise, and live in environmentally cleaner habitats. So what part of their lifestyle actually contributes to their statistically longer lives? Nobody knows but to claim it's because they don't eat meat is superficial and irresponsible.

I read the study (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1710093), and in Table 1 the authors explain that they controlled for age, race, smoking, exercise, income, educational level, marital status, alcohol consumption, and region when looking at mortality. Not to say that I think that vegetarian diets are healthier than meat-eating ones, but they did control other variables. Honestly, I'd be surprised if the study didn't control for them. Although there are other problems with this study. The big one- the author of the study has been payed to speak at a Seven Day Adventists Health conference- they're pretty big promoters of vegetarianism. They didn't compare groups of equal number- they had a smaller number of vegans in the study than omnivores. It would have been a better study if they had equal numbers of people in each group. Also, on average they only tracked each person for 6 years, which isn't enough time to look at some of the long-term effects of different diets. They also found that specifically: nuts, fruits, fiber, and leafy greens were associated with longer life span- all of which are paleo friendly. They also found that high glycemic load foods are the most strongly associated with an increased risk of mortality- and generally speaking, vegans tend to eat a higher glycemic load diet. A 2007 study (outdated, I know, but I'm too busy with finals to spend all day reading studies) in Germany found that the average vegans' diet's GL was 144 (https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/17726311/overall-glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-of-vegan-diets-in-relation-to-plasma-lipoproteins-and-triacylglycerols). The study also found that people who self-describe themselves as healthy eaters live longer (a no brainer).

In general, I think the best takeaway from this study is that increased consumption of low carbohydrate plant foods is good for health. Eating plenty of leafy greens, low carb veggies, fresh fruit (lower GL than dried fruit), and nuts is all associated with a longer lifespan, something than most paleo people do already (to my understanding). It really disappoints me after reading the study that they actually did a really interesting in-depth analysis of multiple eating patterns, but of course, news outlets see the word "vegetarian" and try to pretend that that's only what the study was about.

Anyways, after reading the abstract I'm going to go download the full PDF and spend my free time for the next week reading this.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 01:25:40 PM by 2916132 »