Longevity and mortality
Is there a relationship between what you eat and how long you live? Is bacon as bad for you as smoking? What should you be eating if you want a long and healthy life? Aging is a natural process but there are many diet and lifestyle habits that can slow it down or, on the other hand, bring about many unwelcome changes and cause premature aging.
We’ve seen the headlines; Meat kills! This time it’s true. People who eat a lot of meat and dairy suffer more diabetes, heart disease and cancer and tend to live shorter lives than vegans. And not only vegans tend to live longer, they also have a better quality of life due to better health.
Huge studies from the US and Europe looking at diet and early death rates found that meat-eaters get more diseases and die earlier than those who limit or avoid animal foods. Many of these studies show that replacing meat with plant protein (nuts, soya, beans and lentils) can reduce the risk of an early death considerably.
The government tells people to limit the amount of red and processed meat they eat but ignores chicken completely, even though it now contains more fat than protein. The World Health Organisation and the World Cancer Research Fund have both stressed the dangers of processed meat – it causes cancer. Public health guidelines should include much stronger advice.
Research from the University of Oxford found that more than five million premature deaths could be avoided globally by 2050 if health guidelines on meat consumption were followed. On a vegetarian diet, the figure rises to more than seven million, on a vegan diet more than eight million premature deaths could be avoided.
A diet rich in plant-based whole foods including raw fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and pulses is the healthiest. See what else science says about vegan diets, longevity and mortality. Find out what you need to eat each day here.