The Loma Linda University School of Public Health has released research findings specifying that a vegetarian diet impacts on the environment while at the same time decreasing the overall human mortality rate, i.e. increasing longevity. The study focused on dietary patterns of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians to quantify and compare greenhouse gas emissions, as well as assessing total mortality.
The population analyzed for this study included over 73,000 people based on the Adventist Health Study, a large-scale study of the nutritional habits and practices of more than 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists throughout the United States and Canada. The study population is multi-ethnic and geographically diverse.
The overall findings demonstrated that the mortality rate for non-vegetarians was 20 percent higher than that for vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. In addition the vegetarian diets resulted in a third less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the non-vegetarian diet.
“The takeaway message is that relatively small reductions in the consumption of animal products result in non-trivial environmental benefits and health benefits,” said Sam Soret, Ph.D., MPH, associate dean at Loma Linda University School of Public Health and co-author of the studies.
The researchers recommend the need to re-assess overall nutritional practices in light of environmental challenges and world wide population growth.
S. Soret, A. Mejia, M. Batech, K. Jaceldo-Siegl, H. Harwatt, J. Sabate. Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (Supplement_1): 490S DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071589
J. Sabate, S. Soret. Sustainability of plant-based diets: back to the future. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (Supplement_1): 476S DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071522