To most of the world, vegetarian or vegan diets are unappetizing, but according to a Harvard professor, it could actually save a third of the populations’ lives. In a world heavily reliant on meat and meat products, it doesn’t seem like a meatless lifestyle is sustainable or possible. How could it prevent deaths?
The Office for National Statistics states that close to 24 percent of deaths in Britain could have been prevented. According to figures at Harvard, a total of 200,000 deaths a year could be prevented a year in Britain alone by cutting meat out of the diet. That is just under a third of the population of Britain. Dr. Willett, a Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard, states that a healthy diet is related to a lower risk of almost everything we look at.
Obesity might not be a listed cause of death, but heart disease is the number one cause. With a plant-based diet that is properly constructed obesity could become obsolete with a powerhouse of other benefits that come with meatless meals. Many take vegetarian lifestyles for granted, using them to cut a few waist sizes off, but it can actually reduce the chance of developing heart diseases or could aid inflammatory diseases.
Professor David Jenkin and his team paired up with The Bronx Zoo in New York and traveled to Africa to study the eating habits of the gorillas. They recreated the gorilla’s diet, but for humans, and found that within two weeks there was a 35 percent drop in cholesterol levels, equivalent to if one was to take statins, a set of drugs that reduce fat, including triglycerides and cholesterol. Many using statins often stop taking them due to the side effects, while a samian diet, a diet similar to a gorilla’s, has little to no side effects yet yielding the same results.
There are many benefits of a meat-free diet that are vastly undersold. The fact that it could ultimately save a third of deaths alone is incredible. These studies don’t include if physical activity, smoking, or alcohol habits are adjusted to match a healthy diet. By following a plant-based meal plan, and it doesn’t have to be purely vegan either, a life can be extended past the current life expectancy. Not only that but the quality of life lived can be increased as well. How appetizing does a plant-based diet look now?
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