Veggies are key to longer life?  YES!  Clear evidence that a veterinarian diet–especially Vegan and especially in men–does help improve overall, long term survival.

Let me back-up.  A group of over 70,000 people was followed for six years in a study published in JAMA last week, “Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2”

Here’s a link to the abstract:

I should pause here and note one of the weaknesses of studies like this is they rely on participants using questionnaires–there is always room for fudging or misinterpretation that way.

Regardless, the numbers showed a clear survival advantage for males that followed a diet which restricted red meat and, to a lesser extent, other meats, too. No new news here.  And I don’t want to get caught-up with the numbers, some of the ratios I still don’t understand.

The reason I wanted to share news about the study was this.  According to an article about the study in Medpage Today,

“There were no clear reductions in deaths from cancer, the researchers pointed out.”

Really?  Yep.  Just as many deaths from cancer among vegetarians and All American red meat eaters.

Here’s a link to the Medpage Today follow-up article:

Veggies Are Key to Long Life

Explanations given for the lack of cancer-related good news:

“The heterogeneous nature of cancer may obscure specific diet-cancer associations in analyses of combined cancer mortality, and lack of significance may reflect insufficient power to detect weaker associations at early follow-up,” they explained.

It remains unclear why the effects were stronger in men…”

This could be part of the answer:

“Although nutrition authorities may disagree about the optimal balance of macronutrients in an ideal diet, and the amount of meat and other specific foods that should be ingested, virtually all agree that diets should limit added sugars and sugary drinks, refined grains, and large amounts of saturated and trans fats,” Dr. Robert Baron added.

And that’s one of many limitations to this type of study.  It didn’t isolate or quantify exercise.  Or quantify or limit sugar intake.  By inference, saturated fats may have been reduced.  But there’s no definitive proof; its all assumption.

So don’t despair, veggie lovers!  We all know what you are doing makes a difference!  But how much?

I must admit studies like this are discouraging.  It seems like every time researchers try to use science to prove specific diets and supplements work, they come-up with an opposite result.  Maybe the model is broken?

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


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