Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies

Date:
June 25, 2014
Source:
Loma Linda University Medical Center
Summary:
Consuming a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving longevity, according to new research. Based on findings that identified food systems as a significant contributor to global warming, the study focuses on the dietary patterns of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians to quantify and compare greenhouse gas emissions, as well as assess total mortality.

New research finds that consuming a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving longevity.
Credit: marucyan / Fotolia

Consuming a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving longevity, according to new research from Loma Linda University Health.

A study and an article, produced by researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, will be published in full in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and were first presented at the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition in 2013.

Based on findings that identified food systems as a significant contributor to global warming, the study focuses on the dietary patterns of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians to quantify and compare greenhouse gas emissions, as well as assess total mortality.

The mortality rate for non-vegetarians was almost 20 percent higher than that for vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. On top of lower mortality rates, switching from non-vegetarian diets to vegetarian diets or even semi-vegetarian diets also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The vegetarian diets resulted in almost a third less emissions compared to the non-vegetarian diets. Modifying the consumption of animal-based foods can therefore be a feasible and effective tool for climate change mitigation and public health improvements, the study concluded.

"The takeaway message is that relatively small reductions in the consumption of animal products result in non-trivial environmental benefits and health benefits," said Sam Soret, Ph.D., MPH, associate dean at Loma Linda University School of Public Health and co-author of the studies.

The study drew data from the Adventist Health Study, which is a large-scale study of the nutritional habits and practices of more than 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists throughout the United States and Canada. The study population is multi-ethnic and geographically diverse.

"The study sample is heterogeneous and our data is rich. We analyzed more than 73,000 participants. The level of detail we have on food consumption and health outcomes at the individual level makes these findings unprecedented," Soret said.

The analysis is the first of its kind to use a large, living population, since previous studies relating dietary patterns to greenhouse gas emissions and health effects relied on simulated data or relatively small populations to find similar conclusions.

"To our knowledge no studies have yet used a single non-simulated data set to independently assess the climate change mitigation potential and actual health outcomes for the same dietary patterns," said Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH, nutrition professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health and co-author of the studies.

The accompanying article makes the case for returning to a large-scale practice of plant-based diets, in light of the substantial and detrimental environmental impacts caused by the current trend of eating diets rich in animal products. Making a switch to plant-based foods will increase food security and sustainability, thereby avoiding otherwise disastrous consequences.

Both papers demonstrate that the production of food for human consumption causes significant emissions of greenhouse gases and compare the environmental impacts of producing foods consumed by vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Sabate noted that the results emphasize the need to reassess people's nutritional practices, in light of environmental challenges and worldwide population growth.

"Throughout history, forced either by necessity or choice, large segments of the world's population have thrived on plant-based diets," Sabate said.

The School of Public Health at Loma Linda University has a keen interest in studying environmental nutrition and has had a dedicated postdoctoral program for the last six years and a clearly defined research program, funded by the McLean Endowment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Loma Linda University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. S. Soret, A. Mejia, M. Batech, K. Jaceldo-Siegl, H. Harwatt, J. Sabate. Climate change mitigation and health effects of varied dietary patterns in real-life settings throughout North America. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (Supplement_1): 490S DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071589
  2. J. Sabate, S. Soret. Sustainability of plant-based diets: back to the future. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (Supplement_1): 476S DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071522

Cite This Page:

Loma Linda University Medical Center. "Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625145536.htm>.
Loma Linda University Medical Center. (2014, June 25). Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625145536.htm
Loma Linda University Medical Center. "Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625145536.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins