A recent Harvard University study suggests that people who follow a vegetarian diet can slash their risk of early death considerably. Researchers found that people who have parted ways with meat decreased their risk of dying prematurely by one-third.
- Scientists unveiled the findings at the Fourth International Vatican conference earlier this week.
- The study insists that we have largely underestimated the health benefits of plant-based diets.
Lead author Walter Willett, MD, who presented the study results concluded that a healthier, vegetarian diet can prevent one-third of premature deaths. The early mortality is dramatically reduced even for people that are not vegans but renounce meat.
Willett pointed out that eating healthier can cut the risk of premature death regardless of physical activity levels or smoking habits. What’s more, the diet seems effective in slashing all types of premature deaths, not just cancer-related ones.
Vegetarian Diet Can Slash Cholesterol Levels Too
Researchers believe that vegetarian diets are much healthier than thought because most studies haven’t taken into account other risk factors for early mortality, like obesity.
When we start to look at it we see that healthy diet is related to a lower risk of almost everything that we look at,
Dr. Willet said.
He explained that there are some common underlying processes in the body which seems to benefit from a vegetarian diet.
The study is in line with past research which found a link between not eating meat and a plethora of health benefits. For instance, recent research from the University of Toronto revealed that vegetarian diets are as effective as drugs when it comes to keeping cholesterol in check.
Canadian researchers gave study participants only plant-based foods containing vines, fruits, stems, and leaves. After just a couple of weeks, the participants’ cholesterol levels plunged 35%, which is the same effect only cholesterol-lowering medication would have achieved.
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