For your health
Diet-related mortality factors
According to a study based on global mortality statistics from 195 countries between 1990 and 20171, the five dietary factors that most decrease life expectancy both in Europe and globally are:
- Diet low in whole grains
- Diet high in sodium
- Diet low in fruit
- Diet low in nuts and seeds
- Diet low in vegetables
According to a study conducted with 6381 people, the prevalence of cancer is up to four times higher in people on diets high in animal protein (more than 20% of daily calories) than in people on diets low in animal protein (less than 10% of daily calories)2. The same effects were not observed with high levels of plant-based protein.
A plant-based diet is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared to an omnivorous diet3,4.
Greater life expectancy
A study conducted in California between 2002 and 2007 with 96,000 participants found that the average life expectancy of men on a 100% plant-based diet was 9.5 years higher than that of men on an omnivorous diet (83.3 vs. 73.8 years)5. The difference was slightly less noticeable in participating women, with a life expectancy 6.1 years higher in those following a plant-based diet (85.7 vs 79.6 years).
Using data from the same study, protein intake of people on omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan diets was analyzed, finding similar results: 74.7, 70.6, and 70.7 daily grams, respectively6. In all three cases, the recommended daily amount of 46 g for an average woman and 56 g for an average man is well attained, disproving the widespread belief that plant-based diets don’t provide enough protein.
On the other hand, 70.6% of omnivores had a body mass index over 25, the considered threshold for being overweight, compared to 49.7% of vegetarians and only 33.1% of vegans6.
A diet for any stage of life
The US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the organization with the most professional nutritionists in the world, states that 100% plant-based diets are suitable for any stage of life, including infancy and pregnancy7.
Moreover, The American Journal of Cardiology recommends a 100% plant-based diet to prevent atherosclerosis and lower the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases8.
- Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 – Afshin et al., 2019
- Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population – Levine et al. 2014
- Vegetarian Diet and Cholesterol and Triglycerides Levels – De Biase et al., 2005
- The Garden of Eden—plant based diets, the genetic drive to conserve cholesterol and its implications for heart disease in the 21st century – Jenkins et al., 2002
- Vegetarian diets in the Adventist Health Study 2: a review of initial published findings – Orlich et al., 2014
- Nutrient Profiles of Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Dietary Patterns – Rizzo et al., 2014
- Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016
- Introduction: More Than Coronary Artery Disease – Esselstyn et al., 1998
To find out more:
– www.nutritionfacts.org/healthkit — Brief introduction guide to plant-based eating
– www.veganhealth.org/ — Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations
– NutritionFacts.org YouTube channel
– How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, book by Michael Greger, PhD
– How Not to Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss, book bt Michael Greger, PhD
– Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet, book by Brenda Davies