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Aster's avatar

Are vegetarians much less prone to disease?

Asked by Aster (15865 points ) June 13th, 2014

I know about Paul McCarney’s first wife Linda . But in general , how much less prone to disease are vegetarians to disease and ,if they are, why?

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15 Answers

marinelife's avatar

As this study shows, there is less heart disease, but no less cancer or other diseases.

Stinley's avatar

I think it would be a hard thing to measure because many vegetarians choose that diet because they are trying to have a more healthy lifestyle, perhaps due to existing illness. There is evidence that people in the mediterranean are healthier but a causal link with the semi-vegetarian diet is not established.

gailcalled's avatar

Many people who choose to eat no meat also tend to exercise regularly.

The general tenets for good health are;

Don’t smoke
Drink little or only moderate amounts of alcohol
Maintain a healthy weight
Eat more fruits, vegetables and complex carbs
Eat no meat
Eat less fish, chicken and dairy than you used to
Skip the packaged and processed foods.
Exercise regularly
Reduce stress

Metless diets lead to cleaner arteries and less work for the heart.

Khajuria9's avatar

Nope, it is a misconception that vegetarians are less prone to diseases than their non-veg counterparts. The only key is to eat as per the body needs and exercising on a fairly regular basis.

josie's avatar

No evidence of that.

There is a reasonable assumption that vegetarian Westerners are generally health conscious and thus exercise, avoid smoking, and avoid alcohol to excess. To the extent that these considerations may avoid help avoid some diseases, that would be a plus.

I am no expert on Paul McCartney. But I read somewhere that in addition to being a vegetarian, he smoked from teenage until George Harrison died of cancer-half a century anyway. In any event, too long to have quitting make much difference.
I also read that he drinks beyond moderation, and does not exercise regularly.

He may not be getting the health benefits of his diet choice.

Symbeline's avatar

@gailcalled Less fish? Really? Well I’ll be damned, I always thought fish was a good alternative if for other good foods. :/

Luiveton's avatar

If you bring two people, one, a vegetarian, the other, an omni/carnivore, and both are fit and maintain balanced diets, then it all comes down to their genes really.

(In fact, wouldn’t the omnivore have an even more balanced diet with all the essentials they could possibly need?)

Other than that there are many factors to take into account, seeing that no two people are similar.
But personally I believe it comes down to our nature, so I don’t believe in measuring health through a comparison of diets (only).

rockfan's avatar

@gailcalled For an active individual, a moderate amount of wild caught fish and a small amount of lean red meat is actually really healthy for you. Because you get a good portion of healthy fats and protein.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Seems like they’re more prone to disease, not less prone.
Humans were designed (or we have evolved) to eat animal protein.
It’s what we do.

longgone's avatar

^ “Seems like they’re more prone to disease, not less prone.”

Source, please?

jaytkay's avatar

Only one comment in this thread has any evidence.

The meta-study cited by @marinelife is based on studies of more than 76,000 people and included other aspects besides diet, comparing people with “similar lifestyles.”

JLeslie's avatar

Dr. Joel Fuhrman wrote the book Eat to Live and he footnotes tons of studies that support his belief that a vegan diet is a healthier diet. He leaves room to say that possibly consuming some animal products does not make a significant difference, but he does not claim to know where to draw the line. I have seen experts on various shows say that studies support this idea also. Experts not trying to sell anything, which I always find suspect. I vaguely remember Fuhrman talking about not only heart disease, but cancer also, I could be wrong about that. He definitely touches on heart disease and related risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall weight. He also talks soecifically about vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Dr. Ornish also believes in a vegan diet, although he allows for some cheating, and demonstrated that heart disease can even be reversed sometimes with strictly adhering to his diet and plan. He also believes in meditation and has a whole philosophy regarding heart health.

I know my sister is vegan and she is one of the only people in my family to have great cholesterol numbers. Hers were high like the rest of us when she was young and not vegan yet. But, that is just one person.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie I can’t believe anyone takes Ornish seriously anymore. Hasn’t he been shown to be a quack? Yet one more doctor trying to cash in on a fad diet from his own imagination.

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves Can you tell me what it says about Ornish? I think some of his philosophies are still considered worthwhile. I recently saw a show where extensive research is being done on aging and health and they talked about stress related to telomere length, which seems to have at least a correlation with aging. That would go with Ornish’s idea on meditation. As far as food, he similarly believes in the eating less animal products. I think most cardiac surgeons would agree with that.

I do want to add that I personally don’t believe in using unproven natural methods to cure cancer or heart disease or anything ailment that seriously threatens someone’s life. If they want to incorporate some practices that does not interfere with medical treatment fine. If they want to incorporate natural methods to try and prevent disease I’m fine with that too, in fact I think it is a good idea, as long as it is not popping a whole bunch of pills some charlotin is pushing. Even then some of the vitamins and minerals I do believe in, but I think we should be tested for dificiencies.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie There’s a paragraph on Ornish; just use Ctrl-F and type his name to find it.

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