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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Veggies diets, likelihood of death & longevity

This started as post on the messageboard, but it got so long I decided to post it on here....

 Bill Pearl veggie & certainly not paleo (despite the outfit :-) 
Also still alive & still training well into old age

Here's a few abstracts I've been looking at lately.  The question: Are you likely to live longer with or without meat?  I think you may have an idea of the answer to that one, so let's just look at a few I found interesting:

First one is a 7 year study of 10,943, this one is interesting because it is based on people who are 'into health food', so the usual rebuttal of it is clean living veggies V average meat eaters doesn't hold true.  It is likely the meat eaters are 'healthy eaters' too, so it's healthy eating meat eaters V healthy eating veggies.  There was a negative association between being veggie & ischemic heart disease, so the simple inclusion of meat appeared to clog your arteries, also the 'fibre card' that is sometimes played "Oh it's just that veggies eat more fibre" was shown NOT to be true, fibre was not a factor in this study.  There was also an interesting finding that showed regular wholemeal bread lowered mortality from cerebrovascular disease, which is an interesting finding which could be looked into further, lastly it confirmed veggies had lower mortality from heart disease than even health conscious meat eaters! Abstract here (from there you can read the full text for free)

This study compares the components of a veggie diet to beneficial effects - less chance of heart disease, less chance of stoke, reversal of angina & heart disease, less chance of cancer.  The negatives & I quote here "...There are few adverse effects, mainly increased intestinal gas production and a small risk of vitamin B12 deficiency...." So, there is a possibility you may fart a bit more (which can occur at the start but generally decreases as you adapt to the diet) & make sure you take a multi with B12, that was it really, in this study.  I'd also include maybe a focus on getting your omega 3 fatty acids (ground flax, walnuts or hemp seeds first thing & if you want an algae based DHA/EPA pill some other time during the day is an option for hard training athletes & older people).  Again here's the abstract (you can again find the full study for free from there)

Here's the third study that peaked my interest today - this one had a line that jumped out at me, here it is "...Studies have shown a lower than expected death rate in vegetarians with a significant association between meat eating and mortality from all causes in men...", it then goes on to list a whole pile of reasons why being veggie is better.  I could only view the abstract for this one, but that one line kind of says it all for me - you can eat meat, but you have to start facing up to the fact that you are doing yourself harm over the longer term. Here's the abstract for that one.
If it wasn't for the power of the meat & dairy industry I think scientists would be starting to reach a consensus that giving up meat is the way to go for maximum health, both of ourselves & for the planet generally, but so much of the eating of animal products seems to be tied into habit, tradition, money & people having to face up to the fact that not only have they been doing damage to themselves, but individuals from other species & even the planet itself.

Finally this was not a definitive review of the research out there, just a few studies I stumbled across today, there are many, many more that catalogue a plethora of benefits that giving up animal products can bring to a person, just searching through the literature & it jumps out at you the amount of positive research about people who give up animal products, it's kind of sad that the message is lost & people wander off down blind alleys like the whole paleo, Atkins & now those anti-fruit diets that are springing up - science is pretty clear that fruits, veggies & grains are all beneficial for virtually everyone (Ok there may be some people with issues with certain fruits, veggies or grains, but we're talking generally right now), but people still cling to these fad diets that have no basis in fact they use vague things like "Oh people 10,000 years ago ate like this, so it must be right!" - No, even if people did eat like that 10,000 years ago (which isn't proven), they also lived in caves, in extended family groups where the dominant male probably beat the weaker family members into compliance ,lived short, brutal lives & could only ate food they could walk to find.  Does that sound like you (yes, you sitting in front of your computer, having a green tea from India, munching on a pineapple from the tropics, digesting that stew you made with foods from many, many places that was delivered to your door after you ordered it on the internet yesterday).  I prefer research - that shows interesting stuff like a direct link between bean intake & longevity (see here for that one), so paleo-guy how come that bean your avoiding appears to be the best thing you can eat for a long life?  How come Mr Atkins (who died an obese man with heart issues) would have you swear off beans when they force upon you the 'side effect' of a longer life?  Why would you avoid fruit when it is shown to reduce inflammation, increase health, lower the chances of some cancers & have zero negative effects upon the body?  Sometimes you just want to scream "Wake up, you are making yourselves live short lives, hurting the planet & causing the death of other creatures!" the only benefit is a few seconds of a taste as it is chewed, that is it!  The rest is just negatives.  I'm off on one again so I'd better end it there, hopefully you get the idea though.

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