Good news for meat free eaters: you will have four more years of retirement to enjoy than your colleagues and friends. New research from the US has revealed that those who eschew meat are likely to live for 3.6 years longer than those who eat meat regularly.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona looked at the findings of six studies – a combined cohort of more than 3.3 million people – conducted over periods from five to 28 years and found that death from all causes was higher across the board for fans of beef, bacon and sausages. In fact, even the smallest increase in the consumption of red meat was found to lead to a steep rise in mortality, while processed meat significantly increased the risk of death from all causes.
To accumulate the extra 3.6 years of life requires sticking to the veggie diet for 17 years, however, though even modest changes to the way we eat – such as joining Meat Free Monday – can make a big difference.
One of the studies under review looked at the diets of 500,000 people who ate very little meat and found their all-cause mortality rate was decreased by a quarter to a half compared with those who piled their plates with meat.
The research, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, has led to its authors to recommend that primary care physicians advise their patients to eat more fruit and vegetables and cut down on their meat consumption.
Its authors concluded that doctors should “encourage patients to limit animal products when possible, and substitute red meat and processed red meat with plant-based foods”.