Meat eaters: less sick than vegetarians?



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Study: meat eaters sick less often than vegetarians
27.02.2014

According to a recent Austrian study, meat eaters are less likely to get cancer, a heart attack or allergies than vegetarians. However, the researchers could not say whether this was actually related to the meat waiver. Other international studies have come up with completely different results.

Unclear whether meat waiver has anything to do with it According to a current Austrian study, vegetarians are more likely to get cancer and more heart attacks than meat eaters. This would have been the result of evaluations by researchers from the Medical University of Graz, which have now been published in the journal "PLOS ONE". In addition, vegetarians would have a lower quality of life and need more therapies. However, as the graduate ecotrophologist Uwe Knop explained, food studies are always only speculative. He says: "However, all this does not mean that actually the meat waiver has anything to do with it." The nutritionist therefore warns against rigorous meal recommendations based on such findings: "Nutritional studies always only show connections, but no reasons."

The question of cause and effect remains open The Graz study leaves open the question of cause and effect. “Whether the poorer health of vegetarians is caused by their diet or whether they have become vegetarians because of their poor health cannot be answered,” said the scientists. "We cannot establish a causal connection, but we can describe confirmed findings." For the study, 1,320 people were examined, who divided the researchers into four equally large groups, which were comparable in sex, age, smoking behavior, fitness and socio-economic status. The body mass index (BMI) was also in the normal range (22.9-24.9) in all groups. It was divided into vegetarians, meat eaters who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, little meat eaters and meat eaters. The study is based on data from the "Austrian Health Interview Survey (AT-HIS)", a sample of the adult Austrian population that is part of the EU-wide survey "European Health Interview Survey".

Comparison of 18 chronic diseases examined The Austrian researchers examined a total of 18 chronic diseases. Vegetarians were more frequently affected by 14 of the 18 diseases compared to the high-meat eaters. These included asthma, diabetes, migraines and osteoporosis. In addition, vegetarians had almost twice as many allergies as meat-eaters (30.6 percent to 16.7 percent) and had more cancers (4.8 percent to 1.8 percent). In addition, the researchers recorded more heart attacks with them than with meat lovers (1.5 percent to 0.6 percent). The study also found that vegetarians would suffer from anxiety disorders or depression twice as often as meat-eaters (9.4 percent to 4.5 percent). With these results, a study by scientists from the University of Hildesheim in 2012 was confirmed, which would have shown that vegetarians suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, psychosomatic complaints and eating disorders significantly more often.

Nutritionist speaks of lobbyists The Austrian study also found that vegetarians were more affected by diseases, went to the doctor more often and needed more medical therapies than meat eaters. Vegetarians also have a lower quality of life. For them, the values ​​in the examined categories of physical and psychological health, social relationships and environmental quality of life were lower. But even in this case, the scientists did not describe a causal connection. Nutritionist Knop nevertheless speaks of so-called vegetarian lobbyists and criticizes the German vegetarian association VEBU, which writes in a press release: “Vegetarian diets have the potential to prevent most of these diseases of civilization. In addition, they can be successfully used in their treatment. "

International studies come to completely different results Various other international studies come to completely different results about the health-related meaning of vegetarian nutrition. Last year, results from scientists at Loma Linda University in California were published in the medical journal JAMA, saying: "Vegetarian diets are associated with a lower death rate [...]." The approximately 70,000 participants were vegetarian 12 Percent fewer deaths and 19 percent fewer heart diseases, such as heart attacks. Some chronic diseases were also less common in the vegetarian test groups, including kidney failure and diabetes.

Knowledge of vegetarian nutrition is far from complete "The professional interest in vegetarian nutrition has reached unforeseen levels, but knowledge about vegetarian diets and their influence on human life is far from complete," said Dr. Joan Sabate of Loma Linda University earlier this year. British researchers from the University of Oxford published an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January 2013, presenting equally interesting study results. They came to the conclusion that vegetarians suffer from heart diseases far less frequently than non-vegetarians. The investigation was based on data from around 45,000 patients. (sb)

Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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