The current population of the world is 7.6 billion people. This is only .01% of the total life on earth. Humans are responsible for killing 83% of the total population of wild animals (Carrington). People have been eating meat for thousands of years without thinking of the effects on the environment and their bodies by raising these animals for food. According to a survey collected, 83% of out of one hundred 16-18 year olds at Cactus Shadows eat meat at least 4-5 days a week. Gyde, Isabelle. “Veggies Are Better” Survey. 9. Feb. 2019. Vegetarians live longer, happier, and healthier lifestyles than people who eat meat. The people who rely on vegetables for the majority of their diet tend to live all around healthier lifestyles. They are more likely to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and consume less alcohol/tobacco.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the official definition of vegetarianism is not containing meat: consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products. Humans have been eating the meat from animals for centuries now since they learned the skill of hunting. Hunting for meat has now turned into raising animals strictly for their meat. This has raised many issues in society including health and environmental issues.Purchasing and consuming meat from animals especially beef and poultry leaves a huge environmental footprint that majority of people do not even think twice about. Meat production is devastatingly polluting our soil, waterways, and atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions. According to a survey of high school students, 87% of 100 16-18 year olds at Cactus Shadows High School eat meat 5-6 times a week. Gyde, Isabelle. “Veggies are better”. Survey. 9. Feb. 2019. Since the majority of the human population consumes meat on a daily basis, this is an issue worldwide that needs to be brought to the attention of the entire human population.
Eating meat is closely linked to number of serious diseases. Vegetarians tend to live longer lifespans than carnivores. “ In most cases, vegetarian diets are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases such as; cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease and dementia, as well as diverticular disease, gallstones and rheumatoid arthritis” (Basel). Eating animal protein increases risk of diabetes in human beings. “In a study in 2009, roughly 175,000 men who consumed a major amount of red meat were found to have a 30 percent increase risk of developing prostate cancer” (Leitzmann). The nutrients found in meat create long term negative effects on the human body. A healthy, balanced vegetarian diet can decrease these negative outcomes amd result in living a healthier life.
Consuming meat is eating a dead food. Eating an animal that was slaughtered, began to decompose and then is digested by another animal. This is synonymous with ingesting death. You are what you eat. When a diet contain a majority of vegetables, the body is provided with sustainable energy which releases serotonin in the brain, creating a positive mental outcome and mood (Sissons). People who follow a vegetarian diet tend to live happier lives than those who consume meat products. Johnston Beezhold held an experiment in which three groups of people were put on three different diets; omnivorous diet, pescatarian diet, and a vegetarian diet. At the end of the experiment, the group who was fed the vegetarian diet wound up with the most increase of mood out of all three groups. According to Johnston Beezhold,” researchers found that on days when they ate at least 7-8 servings of fruit or vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally do. They also felt more positive the next day”. Many people choose to abstain from eating meat because they feel it is a breach of morals such as religion or personal belief. Animals are widely mistreated in the food industry. People who believe in this way of a zero cruelty life, live much happier lives knowing no animal is suffering on their accountability.
People who do not eat meat generally live healthier lifestyles than people who eat meat. Generally the people who are conscious of eating meat, are more conscious about the rest of their diet rather than people who consume meat. This could be due to the fact that they have to be aware of their intake of protein and iron since it is easy to lack many nutrients when not eating meat. According to Tina Donativo found that many vegetarians lack vitamin B12, iron, zinc, omega 3, vitamin D, along with calcium. Many studies show vegetarians who maintain a balanced diet, have a healthier body and immune system. According to William Falloon from Life Extension, “one study showed that vegetarians under the age of 65 were 45% less like to suffer a heart attack than were meat eaters”(Falloon). When the amount of vegetables consumed is increased, the human body functions better all around.
Vegetarians live all around healthier lives than omnivores. This year an interventional trial was published in which all meat, poultry, fish, and eggs were removed from people’s diets and a significant improvement in mood scores was found after just two weeks. It can take drugs like Prozac a month or more to take effect. So you may be able to get happier faster by cutting out animal foods than by using drugs. Based on a study of 15,000 American vegetarians, those that eat meat have about twice the odds of being on antacids, aspirin, blood pressure medications, insulin, laxatives, painkillers, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers. Many studies have looked at the association between a vegetarian diet and the risk of different cancer.
A noteworthy association has only been found with colorectal cancer, but the evidence is mixed. A large six year study of individuals with no reported history of cancer showed that those who regularly ate red meat had nearly twice the risk for colon cancer compared to those who did not eat red meat. In addition an inverse association was found with legume intake (legumes include foods like peas, beans, and lentils): A higher colon cancer rate was associated with a lower legume intake. In addition a positive association with BMI was noted. Therefore, in summary, overweight meat eaters who did not eat legumes had the highest rates of colon cancer.
However, these results are not supported by other studies. A study of 34,000 subjects showed that the risk of colon, breast, lung, prostate and uterine cancer, adjusted for age, sex and smoking, were no different between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In addition, in a pooled analysis of five larger studies looking at cancer mortality rates in vegetarians and non-vegetarians, no differences were found between the two groups after adjusting for age and smoking status in mortality rates of colorectal, lung, stomach, prostate or breast cancer.
For the most part, scientific studies on the effects of a vegetarian diet on longevity produce mixed results. One study conducted by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum) found that vegetarian men reduced their risk of early death by nearly half and vegetarian women, by almost one-third. Other studies into whether vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters are not as promising. A number of studies have shown that vegetarians do not live significantly longer than meat-eaters. On the other hand, two other studies of people who eat very little meat showed an average life-span increase of 3.6 years. Also, another noted study of Seventh Day Adventists who ate little or no meat showed longevity increases of 7.28 years in men and 4.42 years in women.
Yet another study shows that people who consume fewer total calories daily, live longer and healthier lives and vegetarians tend to eat fewer calories than meat eaters so there’s yet another connection between being vegetarian and longevity, just not exactly a direct one. Overall, In many cases, a vegetarian diet is followed by a healthy lifestyle which includes behaviors such as moderate drinking of alcohol and not smoking, which have found to be major determining factors of longevity. The moral of the story, if you want to be vegetarian, go ahead and be vegetarian! Just make sure that you lead a healthy lifestyle and you’ll be set to go. Being vegetarian won’t hurt you (just make sure you’re getting enough protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 if you’re vegan), but will it expand your lifespan? Who knows, it’s obviously difficult to conduct a controlled study with vegetarians and non-vegetarians so we may never know. Bottom line, if you want to live longer, it’s your overall lifestyle that will have the biggest impact.
If you switch from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet, you can add about 13 healthy years to your life, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat. ‘People who consume saturated, four-legged fat have a shorter life span and more disability at the end of their lives. Animal products clog your arteries, zap your energy and slow down your immune system. Meat eaters also experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age.’
Want more proof of longevity? Residents of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest life expectancy of any Japanese and likely the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world, according to a 30-year study of more than 600 Okinawan centenarians. Their secret: a low-calorie diet of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy.
You’ll build strong bones. When there isn’’t enough calcium in the bloodstream, our bodies will leach it from existing bone. The metabolic result is that our skeletons will become porous and lose strength over time. Most health care practitioners recommend that we increase our intake of calcium the way nature intended——through foods. Foods also supply other nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D that are necessary for the body to absorb and use calcium.
In summary there is evidence that a vegetarian diet protects against cardiovascular disease, particularly heart disease, and there may be some health benefits related to diabetes and colon cancer. Evidence is lacking, however, for any benefits related to other cancers, other conditions, or mortality rates. Whether the benefits are related to not consuming meat/meat products or having a higher consumption of whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables is not clear. In addition, the fact that vegetarians generally have lower BMIs, lower blood pressure, lower alcohol intake, smoke less, have higher levels of physical activity and have higher socioeconomic levels confounds the issue.
The take home message is that there may be health benefits to being a vegetarian, but these may be due mostly to eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking. Most studies also agree on the association between a vegetarian diet and diabetes, with vegetarians having lower rates of diabetes. A large study showed that the risk of diabetes (adjusted for age) was about twice as high for non-vegetarians as for vegetarians. Vegetarians live longer, happier, and healthier lifestyles than people who eat meat. Through thorough research and investigation vegetarians live healthier lifestyles due to the increased amount of natural nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Vegetarians live longer lives due to their decreased risk of many diseases. Vegetarians live happier lives due to living a life with clean morals and more vegetables.
There are thousands of solutions to this monstrosity of an issue. Some of these solutions could include, taxing more on animal products to reduce the amount of animals killed for food. Another solution to this issue could be solely buying food locally grown and produced. “Meat free” even as little as 2 times a week would decrease the scale of this problem tremendously. The world is begging the human population to stop killing animals for their food source or at least cut down the amount of meat consumed daily.