We’ve all met Vegetarians of many stripes – Ovo-, Pesco-, Lacto- and so on – and they’ve all had one thing to tell us: They’re living healthier and longer thanks to their diet. But a new study of adults in Australia shows that Vegetarians don’t live any longer than the rest of us.
People go vegetarian for many reasons. They want that ‘healthy halo’. They’re animal rights supporters. They grew up that way, in a Vegetarian home. Whatever. But they all seem to think they’re eating healthier and that they’ll live longer as a result.
But Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and expert in Celebrity Health Trends, says ta new study of 250,000 adults aged 45 and older in Australia found no significant differences in all-cause mortality between Vegetarians and those who ate Meat.
Caulfield says, in a story in the National Post, “The key message here is that there is no magic to the [Vegetarian] diet.”
What about the stigma?
In a 2015 study, researchers from Calgary University and Brock University (in Ontario) concluded that Meat eaters view those who are Vegetarian by choice (as opposed to those with Gluten intolerance or Lactose intolerance, for example) more negatively than they do Meat Eaters.
“Strikingly, only drug addicts were evaluated more negatively than vegetarians and vegans,” the authors noted.
Vegetarians make up only a tiny portion of the overall global population and have traditionally been seen as whiners when they complain that a given restaurant does not offer Vegetarian menu items. That’s old news. Anybody who graduated from culinary school anywhere in the western world in the past 15 years will attest that a great deal of time is spent educating new chefs on the importance of offering vegetarian options and catering to special diets. But the stigma, it seems, remains.
The thing is – and the joke is on Meat eaters – a number of studies have found that Vegetarians tend to lead healthier life styles, overall, than Meat Eaters. Alas – that doesn’t help them live longer, overall.
And it’s true that, i some ways, Vegetarians may be contributing to their own negative image among others. Caulfield has the last word on that: ““It’s like that Vegan joke — How can you tell someone’s a Vegan? They’ll tell you.”
When all is said and done…
On a more serious note, Caulfield says, “The main thing is to find a healthy diet that you can maintain, forever. That’s what’s going to have the biggest impact.”
~ Maggie J.