Vegetarian Diet Linked to Longer Life, Less CVD Mortality
Heartwire, Marlene Busko, Jun 12, 2013
LOMA LINDA, California — In a large observational study of generally middle-aged American Seventh-day Adventists, the vegetarians in the group--ranging from vegans to those who ate meat once a week--were 12% less likely to die within six years than their meat-eating peers . Men who ate a vegetarian diet were significantly less likely to die from ischemic heart disease or CVD. Does this mean everyone should forgo eating meat? Not so fast, experts caution, pointing to study limitations. But it does add support for following a "heart-healthy" diet.
The Adventist Health Study 2 was published online June 3, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to lead author Dr Michael J Orlich (Loma Linda University, CA), "This research gives more support to the idea that certain vegetarian dietary patterns may be associated with reduced mortality and increased longevity" and can be used to guide food choices.
However, in an accompanying editorial , Dr Robert B Baron (University of California, San Francisco) points out since it was an observational study, cause-and-effect conclusions cannot be drawn from it, and it was based on a one-time questionnaire. He urges clinicians counseling patients to be less focused on a vegetarian vs nonvegetarian diet and rather to look to the broader goal of improving the diet.
Asked to comment, Dr Robert H Eckel (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora) concurs. "We need to put this study into perspective. Is a vegetarian diet heart healthy? Probably yes. Should people convert to a vegetarian diet based on this study? Absolutely not. I think they need to look at their overall diet and make sure it is consistent with what we know about diet and heart disease," he told heartwire .