The Flaming Vegan

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Do Vegans Live Longer?
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Do Vegans Live Longer?

This is surely a question that several people don’t really think about. Of course vegetarians and vegans live longer – they eat healthier! They don’t eat artery-clogging meat and dairy, they eat their vegetables! Well, studies may surprise you. Apparently, we don’t live much longer than meat-eaters.

This is a question that is hard to answer. The problem is that we have to keep in mind that French fries, Coca-Cola and several desserts are vegan. These, although don’t contain cholesterol, are damaging for our health for other reasons. That being said, here is what a few researches have concluded.

Beside the cholesterol levels, vegans and vegetarians do benefit from not eating meat. Several have opted for this diet due to health problems and become much more health-oriented, and opt for whole foods and organic options instead of processed, canned and high-sugar foods. These are the vegetarians that reap the most benefits and, according to some websites such as the Adventist Health Study’s site, could live up to 10 years more than their meat-eating counterparts. Furthermore, it depends on which omnivores we compare them to – after all, an omnivore that fills half their plates with vegetables is just as likely to be healthy than the vegetarian who consumes little more than eggs, dairy products and pasta or bread, for example.

However, those that strictly boycott animal by-products without making any other effort to eat a healthy diet may find themselves with very little to no advantage over omnivores. However, they enjoy a lifestyle that is free of most animal product-related diseases such as heart attacks, several forms of cancer, kidney stones and gallstones, and diabetes. And, since vegans and vegetarians are more likely to cut out smoking and drinking, this adds to the health benefits. Well, those who aren’t pot-smoking hippies, that is!

Another surprising finding is that as we age, we are less likely to have any difference in health than an omnivore. According to Life Extension Magazine, even though we eat healthier and have less chances of dying from disease, we are apparently damaging our body through lethal glycation, due to the lack of carnosine. This element is found in beef, and some research seems to point to it being a reason why vegetarians and vegans might actually not be healthier than meat-eaters once we hit 80 years old. This is because the carnosine creates a reaction that binds glucose to proteins and the lack of it may cause certain forms of cancer and lead to cataracts.

Carnosine, aka beta-alanyl-L-histidine, is a molecule made up of two amino acids, alanine and histidine. Vegetarians and vegans have up to 50% less in their tissue than animal-eaters. However, almost all the studies done on this subject were done in-vitro and on animals, and very few humans were actually tested for it. But, the studies are still very recent, and as with any other form of scientific research, it is always best to wait for more research before jumping to conclusions.

Beta-alanine can be found in vegan form and when used by humans, the results are the same and it is very safe. So, do we need to worry? No. We have all we need in our plants. However, this still does not mean we live longer than omnivores or carnivores. Oh well; we live healthier lives, though.


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  1. Anita Vegana
    Lots of things I didn't know about. I voted.
  2. Veganara
    Voted. As usual, an excellent article Annie, and a very impressive amount of research here! Lots of things I didn't know either, like Anita. That is a good point you make about vegetarianism not necessarily being healthier if you still eat a diet high in fat, for example, albeit fat from plants. Akanksha wrote a really good article on this subject as well, some time back. The thing about life expectancy is that it is quite often at least in part genetically determined anyway, like many other health factors. Definitely more research needed on the carnosine thing, as well.
  3. vannigoc1
    Candidly speaking, you got a nice amount of info I never really knew about here even as a science student.Keep it up.
  4. Shabs Online
    Shabs Online
    Very well researched post....never wz aware about so many things......Thnz for posting....definitely voted!
  5. mystic40s
    darn...i wanted to live longer
  6. dianabart
    Very interesting facts! Thanks! voted!


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