Everyone is concerned about the length of their life span, but many people don’t realize the factors that actually contribute to longevity. Our ability to live long lives is influenced by a number of factors, including our genes and our environments. Through scientific studies involving identical twins, scientists have been able to determine that only 30 percent of this influence is derived from our gene makeup. Basically, this means that the majority of influence in regards to how long we live comes from our environment.
Out of all the environmental factors that contribute to life span, few have been studied nearly as much as diet. The debate has raged for years: veggies or meat? That’s the question that continues to be debated time and time again, but it seems we’re no closer to procuring an answer.
Although studies have proved that decreasing the number of calories consumed can lead to a longer life, at least in mice, that doesn’t really help. After all, what works for mice may not work for humans.
In recent years, it’s been meat eaters that have been under close watch by scientists and foodies alike. A study that tracked almost 100,000 Americans for about five years found that vegetarians, or non-meat eaters, were actually less likely to die than the people who consumed meat.
The problem is that this included deaths of any cause, not just diet related. What is interesting though is that this was particularly true for males, and less noticeable in females.
The real issue is that the more you research the topic, the more you find that most of the studies don’t agree. Many of the studies actually show that there is no evidence at all to support a claim in either direction. However, it is indisputable that meat-free diets can reduce the risk of developing problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer in some cases.
These findings tend to be easier to interpret since they deal with the actual diagnosis of a health problem rather than a death due to any nonspecific cause.
There is also some evidence to support the claim that a vegan diet, different and more restrictive than that of a traditional vegetarian diet, may add to the benefits of being meat free. It seems as though the longer we commit to being vegetarian or vegan, the more benefits we reap over time, but there still isn’t enough to prove a case either way.
The reason why we don’t have as much information as we would like is that humans already live much longer when compared to other mammals. It’s incredibly difficult for scientists to track a person’s life based on their diet; it takes years in order to develop evidence, and five years simply isn’t enough time to see real change. It’s also difficult to find subjects who accurately and honestly report their diets. People tend to over report how healthy they eat, and under report how many calories they consume.
The truth is, we don’t know what about our diets contributes to a longer life. There is evidence to support that being vegetarian can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, but it isn’t enough to make a firm claim regarding longevity. Eating meat and veggies, like a lot of things, probably works best when done together in balance.
source and courtesy : dailyvibes.org