Assessing the long-term health of vegetarians and vegans and their risk of certain conditions and diseases

Researchers from the University of Oxford revealed that becoming a vegetarian or vegan has significant long-term health benefits. This finding, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, was based on the results of western studies involving a high portion of vegetarian participants.

  • Vegetarians are people who follow a diet devoid of any meat, poultry or fish. These people can be further classified into vegans who do not consume any animal products or lacto-ovo-vegetarians who eat dairy products and eggs.
  • Vegetarianism is a very common practice in countries like India where nearly 30 percent of the people follow this diet. However, it is generally uncommon in the U.S. where only 5 percent of the population are vegetarians and 2 percent are vegans.
  • Although studies have determined that a well-planned vegetarian diet can provide the nutrients needed by the body, many people are still worried about the potential long-term health effects of vegetarianism. This is because meat products are major sources of nutrients like vitamin B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • In this study, the researchers evaluated the results of eight prospective studies involving more than 100,000 vegetarians and a total of almost 280,000 participants.
  • The results of their analysis showed that a vegetarian diet reduces a person’s risk of developing obesity, ischemic heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and eye cataracts. Meanwhile, stroke risk did not vary between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Overall, the results of this study show that following a vegetarian or vegan diet has long-term health benefits, as shown by the reduced risk of certain diseases and medical conditions.

The full text of the study is available at this link.

For more articles on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian, visit

Journal Reference:

Appleby PN, Key TJ. THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 28 December 2015;75(03). DOI: 10.1017/s0029665115004334

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