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Vast Study Tells You How to Slow Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Vast Study Tells You How to Slow Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Fun fact of the day: The mortality rate for non-vegetarians is almost 20 percent higher than that for vegetarians and semi-vegetarians according to a new study. Also discovered in that study, a vegetarian diet can lead to a healthier planet.

The study comes from Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Basing their research on findings which identified food systems as a significant contributor to global warming, the researchers on the study looked at the dietary patterns of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, and non-vegetarians in order to quantify and compare their greenhouse gas emissions. They also examined total mortality.

They found that not only do vegetarians have lower mortality rates, but switching to a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to a third.

Sam Soret, Ph.D., MPH, associate dean at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and co-author of the study feels it indicates that small changes made by people can have a large impact on greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

“The takeaway message is that relatively small reductions in the consumption of animal products result in non-trivial environmental benefits and health benefits,” Soret said in a statement.

After drawing some of its data from the Adventist Health Study which studied more than 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists of varying ethnicities and geographical locations, Soret feels the study got a good glimpse of what the real impact of many people switching to a vegetarian diet could be.

“The study sample is heterogeneous and our data is rich,” Soret said. “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.”

Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH, nutrition professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and study co-author feels this study demonstrates better than studies before it the importance of a vegetarian diet, not just for our own health, but the health of the planet.

She also feels people need to reassess their nutritional practices to better align with a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian lifestyle.

“Throughout history, forced either by necessity or choice, large segments of the world’s population have thrived on plant-based diets,” she said.

Though people won’t stop eating meat overnight, large-scale studies like these may convince some people who are already on the fence. The study suggests that not only would a plant-based diet increase longevity, it would also help slow global warming and may aid in increasing food security worldwide.

image: from Paul Stein, via Flickr

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61 comments

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3:59AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

Thanks

5:48AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

Thanks.

9:17PM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

interesting

2:13PM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

Since I grow all the vegetables I consume, and know how much work it takes to get the soil to the point where it actually can produce vegetables despite drought, I know very well that manure from those animals that vegetarians hate is absolutely necessary to the effort, and no one takes into account how much water is being used. So this seems a bit one-sided study, at best.

3:27AM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

Thanks.

3:29AM PDT on Jul 8, 2014

Thank you.

9:06AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Thanks for the reminder.

5:27AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Several things, regardless of the presentation in the article, this is not a new or unpublished study, it was completed, reviewed and published in JAMA in 2013. Second the Second sentence of this article is not only a lie, it is not in the study cited at all, "The mortality rate for no-vegetarians is almost 20% higher...." Bull Shit, the mortality rate for every one born is ALWAYS 100%, no one gets out alive. The actual conclusions in the study say that the chances of 'premature death' from medical causes possibly linked to diet MAY be a high as 12%, which if you are not lying to pimp an agenda is far, far closer to 10% than 20%. And when the lead researcher say point blank, "We can not tell from this paper with certainty,...." then I would say the claims made in this article are cherry picking at its finest at best and bogus misrepresentation at worst.

3:23AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

If you give up everything you enjoy you don't actually live longer, but life drags so much it feels like it. For those people who feel that we omnivores are selfish try an alternative view.
I don't want to give up seeing sheep and lambs or beef cattle in the fields near me even though I know they will end up on someone's table; to see the fields turned over entirely to a soya or rapeseed monoculture; to see all the wildflower meadows turned over to crops that need huge amounts of water and chemical fertilizer; to see huge amounts of pesticides used to kill of every insect including butterflies and bees; to see huge fuel guzzling harvesters and distribution trucks spewing pollution and creating CO2 to transport produce to processing and storage plants so that produce can be transported half way around the world. All this up so that city dwelling vegetarians can live a few more years, eating out of season vegetables and hoping that no terrible affliction like Senility will cut them down.
Ok I am about to climb down of my hypothetical high horse.

3:01AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Just one question, does your statement “Throughout history, forced either by necessity or choice, large segments of the world’s population have thrived on plant-based diets,” she said." mean those countries many call third world (or developing nations if your politically correct)? Also, I'm not certain how truthful you are in saying the vegetarian is better for the environment, unless your totally ignoring the bio-diversity, transport, spoilage, etc. if you are biased you can always find evidence to support whatever view you wish to promote. As for living longer, I think you would have to account for the fact that vegetarians are more conscientious of their food than many meat eaters are, and would someone that's on a Mediterranean diet that include a limited amount of meat.

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