Whether it be from a place of compassion, growing concern for environmental sustainability or a more thorough understanding of what it really means to be healthy, one thing is clear — more and more people are cutting out or at least cutting back on meat and other animal products, and for good reason. Scientists from the University of Harvard have found that at least one-third of all early deaths could be prevented if everyone moved over to a vegetarian diet.
Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School says that the overwhelming evidence in regards to the benefits of a plant-based diet has been extremely underrated.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that around 24 percent or, 141,000 deaths each year in Britain were entirely preventable, the majority of those numbers were due to smoking, alcohol or obesity.
New figures from Harvard are now suggesting that at a minimum, 200,000 lives could be spared each year if people were to simply cut meat from their diets.
While speaking at the Unite to Cure Fourth International Vatican Conference in Vatican City, Dr. Willet said, “We have just been doing some calculations looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant-based diet, not necessarily totally vegan, and our estimates are about one-third of deaths could be prevented.
“That’s not even talking about physical activity or not smoking, and that’s all deaths, not just cancer deaths. That’s probably an underestimate as well as that doesn’t take into account the fact that obesity is important and we control for obesity.
“When we start to look at it we see that healthy diet is related to a lower risk of almost everything that we look at. Perhaps not too surprising because everything in the body is connected by the same underlying processes.”