How you can live up to 9 years longer

In the wake of the recent beef recall, the largest in Canada’s history, it may be the perfect time to consider eating less meat.

A study by Loma Linda University (LLU) in California conducted in the 1970s and 1980s was the first to demonstrate the life extending benefits of being a vegetarian after tracking thousands of Seventh-day Adventists starting back in 1958. Researchers studied this particular religion because of its strong emphasis on a vegetarian lifestyle.

In 2002, the National Institutes of Health gave the university a grant in order to continue their research on the Seventh-day Adventists, and it is currently halfway through completion. For the study, they are looking at 96,000 Americans and Canadians. So far, the results are just as dramatic as they were in the first study.

Principal investigator Gary E. Fraser, MD, PhD, spoke at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2012 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, noting that Vegetarian Adventist women live an average of 85.7 years (6.1 years longer than the California average) and vegetarian men live an average of 83.3 years (9.5 years above the average).

The second study also found that vegans weigh 30 pounds less than meat eaters on average, and are generally five units lighter on the BMI scale.

Vegetarians and vegans were also shown to be less insulin resistant than carnivores, and pesco-vegetarians (those who limit animal products to once a week or so) saw “intermediate protection”  against certain diseases.

Researchers also found that obesity shortens an African American’s life by 6.2 per cent, and that – contrary to previous findings – across all races, there was no notable protective qualities found in fat in seniors above the age of 85.

For the study, half the population followed are vegetarian and 25 per cent are African American.

The vegetarian diet is heavy in  fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, which are all found to reduce a person’s risk for serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Considering eating less meat? There are plenty of meat-free options that still allow you to consume as much protein as your body needs:


Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios and other nuts are healthy choices for a protein boost. One ounce of peanuts contains 7 grams of protein.


A celebrated superfood, quinoa is a grain similar to rice, and contains 8 grams of protein and a significant amount of fiber per cooked cup.


Consider using spinach as your salad base, as one cup contains 5 grams of protein.


Hummus is a great substitute for veggie dip since garbanzo beans (chickpeas) contain 15 grams of protein, as do black and kidney beans.


For as much protein as three ounces of steak, consume lentils. At 18 grams a cup, they are an iron rich superfood.


Greek Yogurt

With between 13 to 18 grams of protein per serving and less sugar than regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is the smarter choice.


A half cup contains more than 10 grams of protein.


A firmer version of tofu, soybean-based tempeh contains 15 grams of protein.

Sources: LLU Adventist Health Study Abstracts; Huffington Post; Mayo Clinic