seasonal fruit salad (2)According to research from Loma Linda University (due to be published July 2014), eating a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions all while improving life longevity.

To figure this out, the researchers examined data from a previous study which documented the dietary habits and health of more than 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists throughout United States and Canada.  With the majority of Seventh-day Adventists consuming a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (allows dairy and eggs, but no animal flesh), data on vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians was available to analyze. Knowing that food systems are a significant contributor to global warming, scientists were able to compare different dietary patterns with associated greenhouse gas emisions and then mortality rates.

Results showed that the mortality rate for non-vegetarians turned out to be almost 20% higher than that of vegetarians and semi-vegetarians.  Additionally, vegetarian diets resulted in almost 1/3 less emissions compared to non-vegetarian diets.  The researchers concluded changing the way one eats and incorporating more plant-based foods/ less animal-based foods can help to produce environmental benefits, even though they are small ones.

The more people engage in semi-vegetarian or vegetarian diets, the higher the beneficial effect on the environment will be. Ultimately, a large-scale change in this direction will increase food security and sustainability, all while improving individual health.

 

Reference: 

Loma Linda University Medical Center. “Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2014. Available at: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625145536.htm

 

 

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