A major study has found people who follow a vegan diet are more likely to out-live those who eat meat and dairy products.
With November being Vegan Month, we take a look at the health benefits of veganism, including the research that found people following this diet are more likely to live longer than those who eat meat and dairy.
The vegan diet steers clear of meat, seafood and dairy – as well foods produced using animals, such as honey, some wine, beer and cider filtered using animal products.
The study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal was carried out by scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
The scientists found every three per cent increase in calories from plant protein was found to reduce risk of death by 10 per cent and that figure rises to 12 per cent for risk of dying from heart disease.
And by increasing the share of animal protein in a person’s diet by 10 per cent led to a two per cent higher risk of death from all causes – increasing to an eight per cent higher chance of dying from heart disease.
Haleh Moravej, a senior lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University, told UNILAD:
Research suggests that vegan diets usually contain more dietary fibre but have less cholesterol and saturated fat.
This reduces the risk of many modern chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure however without informed food choices or supplementation deficiencies may be an issue.
Health experts suggest informed and well-planned vegan diets are suitable for all individuals at all stages of life.
Diet is just one element of a complicated lifestyle puzzle so to live longer one has to look at other indicators but a healthy, plant based, balanced, varied, nourishing and sustainable diet could improve the quality of life.
We do not have enough data to say exactly how a vegetarian diet influences long-term health. It’s difficult to tease out the influence of vegetarianism from other practices that vegetarians are more likely to follow, such as not smoking, not drinking excessively, and getting adequate exercise.
Tim Shieff, a professional British free-runner, who was the last man standing in the first series of Ninja Warrior UK and a finalist in the second series, has been a vegan since 2012.
He is an advocate for the vegan diet, proving you don’t need to eat animal products to be in good shape or for fitness levels.
There are also a number of vegan public figures and celebrities including grime artist JME, actors Liam Hemsworth, Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix to name a few.
You can watch Tim speaking about veganism on the below podcast:
Professor Moravej also told UNILAD:
There has been a massive rise in vegetarian and vegan options across restaurants in Britain and continues to increase with food eateries opening specifically for plant-based options.
There are currently over half a million vegans living in Britain. One in five have cut down the amount of meat they buy and one in eight are now chosen meat free vegan options in restaurants. When it comes to eating healthily, according to Mintel, 55 per cent of UK adults include plenty of vegetables in meals and 24 per cent incorporate superfood ingredients.
This growing interest in veganism is driven by people’s desire for both health and environmental benefits. 49 per cent of British people who limiting or reducing meat consumption agree that eating too much meat is bad for their health.
Weight management (29 per cent) is the second most popular reason for limiting or reducing meat consumption, while concern over animal welfare (24 per cent) and the environment (24 per cent) are equal motivators.
This year has seen well-known brands introduce vegan versions of popular products.
Cult ice cream maker, Ben & Jerry’s released their dairy-free versions of absolute classics, Chunky Monkey and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and there is a dairy-free exclusive, Peanut Butter & Cookies.
Chunky Monkey is banana ice cream with chocolate chunks and walnuts, Chocolate Fudge Brownie is a chocolate combination of ice cream and brownies and new kid on the block, Peanut Butter & Cookies, is vanilla ice cream with chocolate cookies and peanut butter swirls.
McDonald’s is currently trialling its first ever vegan burger, the McVegan at a restaurant in Tampere, Finland, where it’ll be available until the end of November.
The McVegan is made up of a soy-based burger patty in a bun with all the standard McDonald’s fillings – tomato, salad and pickles and comes complete with a vegan McFeast sauce.
Cafe chain, Pret A Manger now has three ‘Veggie Pret’ stores in London which offer vegan and vegetarian food exclusively.
Professor Moravej explained to UNILAD the health benefits of eating vegan.
A vegan diet is associated with many health benefits because of its higher content of fibre, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals and a fat content that is more unsaturated.
Vegan diets tend to contain less saturated fat and cholesterol and more dietary fibre. Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease.
Research evidence suggests consuming whole grains as a possible link in reduction of colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes and CVD. Vegans, compared with meat eaters, consume substantially greater quantities of fruit and vegetables. A higher consumption of fruit and vegetables, which are rich in fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, is associated with lower blood cholesterol concentrations.
Last month, UNILAD released a documentary detailing and exposing the inhumane treatment some animals suffer before making it to the supermarkets.
Footage like this is hard to ignore – and it shouldn’t be ignored, it is happening.
It shows pigs screaming as they head to the slaughterhouse, chickens being pulled apart and pecking at the carcasses of those who’ve collapsed alongside them, it’s heartbreaking.