Vegan diet better for planet and longevity, new studies show | Totally Vegan Buzz

Vegan diet better for planet and longevity, new studies show

Plant-based diet reduces menopausal symptoms up to 84%, new study finds
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Growing evidence suggests that plant-based diets are not only better for the environment but for longer healthier lives as well.

Recent studies have found that plant-based diets are significantly better for the environment and health than diets high in meat.

The first research was led by the University of Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project and is published in Nature Food. It is thought to be the most comprehensive analysis of its kind, linking dietary patterns to the environmental impacts of food production.

 Scientists analyzed data from over 55,000 individuals, including pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans, and linked it with information on the environmental impacts of foods consumed in relation to greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, water pollution risk, and biodiversity loss.

They found that vegan diets reduced greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water pollution by 75% compared to high meat-consuming diets. The impact of low-meat diets was also found to be roughly 30% less than the high-meat ones.

“Our dietary choices have a big impact on the planet,” study lead author Peter Scarborough said in a statement.

“Cherry-picking data on high impact plant-based food or low impact meat can obscure the clear relationship between animal-based foods and the environment.”

 The research builds on a growing body of evidence that spotlights the sustainability of plant-based diets.

The global food system is responsible for approximately one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of the world’s freshwater use. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has called for a 20% reduction in meat and dairy consumption by 2030 to help reduce emissions and negative environmental impacts.

Plant-based diets increase lifespan

The current study follows separate research which indicates that plant-based diets can also increase longevity.

Scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that people who followed an environmentally conscious diet were found to have a 25% lower risk of mortality during a follow-up period of over 30 years compared to those who had less sustainable diets.

According to the team, foods that are considered advantageous for both personal health and the environment include whole grains, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and unsaturated oils. While items such as red and processed meat, as well as eggs are indicated as potentially detrimental.

They created a new index called the Planetary Health Diet Index (PHDI) to take into account the impact of different food types on both health and the environment. Individuals in the top fifth of the PHDI were found to have a 25% reduced risk of dying from any cause compared to those in the bottom fifth.

Additionally, higher PHDI scores are indicative of a decreased risk of death from various diseases. Specifically, there is a 15% lower risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular diseases, a 20% lower risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases, and a significant 50% lower risk of death from respiratory diseases

“We proposed a new diet score that incorporates the best current scientific evidence of food effects on both health and the environment,” lead author Linh Bui, MPH, said.

However, the team acknowledged the intricacies of global dietary patterns and admitted that additional research was mandated to explore different food cultures, food accessibility, and other obstacles that might hamper the widespread implementation of a more sustainable diet.

“We hope that researchers can adapt this index to specific food cultures and validate how it is associated with chronic diseases and environmental impacts such as carbon footprint, water footprint, and land use in other populations,” Bui added.

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