Is a Vegetarian Diet the Healthiest Choice?

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People choose to adhere to a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons. If an individual is vegetarian due to ethical issues, the logic of this article does not apply. I have concerns for only those who are eating vegetarian in order to live longer and /or be “healthier”. Many people assume since a vegetarian diet is so restrictive, it must be the healthiest.

What is a vegetarian diet?

In general, a vegetarian diet is void of meat, fish, and fowl.

WebMD explains:

The simplest definition of vegetarianism is a diet free of meat, fish, and fowl flesh. But eating habits of vegetarians cover a wide spectrum. At one end are lacto-ovo vegetarians, who avoid animal flesh but eat eggs and milk products. At the other end are vegans, who forgo eating (and often wearing) all animal-based products, including honey.

Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Research also has shown that a vegan or vegetarian diet may lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. And a 2011 study found that vegetarians had lower triglycerides, glucose levels, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). While many study's show some positive effects of a vegetarian diet, what impact does it have on life expectancy?

Does being vegetarian make you live longer?

In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found “in no case” in showing vegetarian diet prevented cancer. The study observed 63,550 middle-aged men and women for a decade, concluded that “overall mortality for vegetarians and non vegetarians turned out to be the same”.

Vegetarians typically hold themselves accountable consistently with their diet. Rarely do you see a vegetarian eating meat one week, then not the next week, so on a so forth. However, traditional meat eaters, rarely follow one consistent plan. Non-vegetarian are all over the board in therms of what they eat. Numerous studys have pointed out that vegetarians are more likely to excercise vs. meat eaters giving vegetarians additional benefits. You can say that vegetarians as a whole, are more “health conscious” than the general population. Despite the consistency and exercise vegetarians do NOT live longer than non-vegetarians.

What are you to do?

If you are thinking of becoming a vegetarian to become healthier, you may want to rethink your strategy. While there are some benefits of being vegetarian, being vegetarian will NOT make you live longer.

Note: If an individual is vegetarian due to ethical issues, the logic of the article does not apply. I have concerns only for those who are eating vegetarian in order to live longer and/or be “healthier”.

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Steven Zahn
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Steve Zahn
Experienced fitness trainer with multiple certifications helping his clients become the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves every day.