Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, April 22, 2017

So, You're a Vegetarian?

"Eating vegetarian is like the new Prius [Toyota's hybrid vehicle]. You're telling the world the kind of individual you are, the personal brand."
"We all do those things [publicly show how different we are from others]."
"The key message here is that there is no magic to the [vegetarian] diet."
"They're [vegetarians] probably thinking about what they're eating more than the rest of us. And, probably most important, they're eating more fruits and vegetables."
Dr. Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta, Canada Research Chair in health law and policy

"[Meat eaters evaluate vegetarian and vegans] equivalently or more negatively than several common prejudice target groups [more negatively than nutritional 'out-groups']. Strikingly, only drug addicts were evaluated more negatively than vegetarians and vegans."
Calgary University/Brock University research paper, 2015

"It's important to note that the news [that there is no life-expectancy advantage for vegetarians over non-vegetarians] is not that bad for vegetarians -- they basically have much healthier lifestyle behaviours than non-vegetarians."
Seema Mihrshahi, senior research fellow, University of Sydney
Getty Images
Organic farm vegetables : Getty Images
Another fond myth dashed by scientific scrutiny. Not that people who eschew eating any kind of meat are not admirable for their forbearance in denying themselves the taste of animal flesh, in favour of respecting the life of other animals on this planet. But for those who believe that bypassing any animal product in their daily diet they will be prolonging their own lives as a result, in the belief that refusing to eat meat is healthier and will be a guarantor of greater longevity, new research findings will come as a disappointment.

Perhaps those who feel vegans and vegetarians are out of their mind, and that the new findings validate their own beliefs should not too hastily celebrate their own wise choices, since there are other dietary elements and lifestyle habits that more frequently accompany the kind of diet that accepts all forms of nutritional edibles. Which is to say, people dedicated to a more casual and 'normal' eating style also find no fault all too often in accepting pre-packaged and processed foods whose nutritional and caloric-dense properties are absent the basic characteristics of good nutrition.

The study, appearing in the journal Preventive Medicine, began by tracking close to 240,000 adults from age 45 and older in New South Wales. It discovered by examining all indices pertinent to the study that no differences of any significance could be isolated between a normal, meat-eating diet and a vegetarian-type diet to account for a difference in mortality between the two. The likelihood of dying was not advanced for those with a complete, semi- or pesco- vegetarian diet and regular meat eaters, as well.

An emerging body of evidence supports the reality that vegetarian diets will not reduce the risk of premature death, despite that vegetarianism has reached a cultural-social trend in the West.  And omnivores who already view vegetarians as morally righteous will now, with the release of this new finding, only have their views strengthened. In that 2015 paper, points out co-author Dr. Gordon Hodgson, professor at Brock U's department of psychology, "we show that vegetarians FEEL negative social pressure from meat eaters".

Which in a sense seems fair enough, since vegetarians often place deliberate pressure on meat eaters by launching efforts to inform the public of the cruel practises involved in preparing farmed animals for slaughter to be placed on the dinner table. This appeal to conscience, while formed on an informed and true platform, becomes evangelized in the effort to convince meat-eaters that to continue their dedication to meat on the table directly consigns innocent animals to a miserable life and a wretchedly violent death.

A '45 and Up Study' formed the basis for the Australian study which has been described as the largest such study relating to healthy aging ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere, with its analysis based on 243,096 men and women with a mean age of 62.  Taking into account smoking, obesity and underlying diseases like cancer, hypertension and heart disease, no evidence that any of the variations of vegetarian diets protected from early death was discovered by the researchers.

It was pointed out however, that vegetarians were less likely to indulge in excessive smoking, drinking, let alone eating to excess, resulting in being overweight or obese. As well, they were less likely to report problems with heart disease or cancer, when the study commenced. And diets which emphasize fruits and vegetables have certainly been linked to lowering the risks of heart disease and other illnesses.
Vegetarians are less likely to be obese.

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