Statistically the ability to live a long life is influenced by a combination of our genes and our environment. The latest studies that involve identical twins show that no more than 30% of this influence comes from our genes, it means the main group of factors that control how long a person lives is their environment.
After long discussions and debates scientists stated that besides many possible environmental factors our diet is extremely important. The subject as calorie restriction was carefully investigated, and researchers came up with conclusion that restricting calories can increase lifespan, at least in small creatures. But what works for mice doesn’t necessarily work for humans.
In fact, according to studies, that tracked around 100, 000 Americans for five years non-meat-eaters were less likely to die comparing to meat eaters. However, the effect was especially noticeable in males. The diet low in meat is also associated with greater longevity. Some studies believe that the longer a person sticks to meat free diet, the greater is the benefit. However not all the scientists agree and some of them show a tiny or no difference at all in the longevity between meat eaters and vegetarians.
But there is one thing that all the scientists agree on is that meat-free diets can reduce the risk of developing health issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer.
The question of longevity is very hard to check, as humans live much longer comparing to other creatures, which makes it rather complicated for running the studies. Who will want to wait for ninety years to accomplish one study? That’s why scientists tend to use already existed health records or by using volunteers and measuring death rates, comparing different groups and figuring out which one of them is more likely to die faster. According to the results of such studies conclusions were made that certain activities do have influence on our life longevity, among which is avoiding meat.
However this approach has its own difficulties. Basically it is impossible to find a direct link between eating meat and death, it doesn’t mean that one thing caused another. It might be true that vegetarianism is related to longevity, but the explanation is different. For example, it could be caused by the fact that vegetarians tend to exercise more, smoke and drink less comparing to the meat eaters. Nutrition studies also rely on volunteers accurately and truthfully recording their food intake. But this can’t be taken for granted. Studies have shown that people tend to under report calorie intake and over-report healthy food consumption.
So the question whether people should avoid meat in their diet in order to live longer is still open. It is true that meat free diet can contribute to longevity, but only in the combination with other factors, like avoiding clear risks, including alcohol and smoking.
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