The lifespan of humans, especially of vegans, is valuable to people. Do vegans live longer is important to answer correctly using facts and reliable analysis because it can be a motivating factor to switch from an omnivore diet to a vegan one. We’re interested in discovering the truth about a vegan lifespan versus non-vegans, so we dug deep and looked at scientific journals, and analytical factors to reach the correct conclusions.
- What Factors Affect Life Span?
- What Are The Health Benefits of Being Vegan?
- What The Studies Say
- So, Can Avoiding Meat Extend Your Life?
What Factors Affect Life Span?
A person’s lifespan – or how long they live– is influenced by many factors in life. Here are a few of them:
Women naturally live several years longer than the average male.
This is despite the potential rigors of both bringing a baby to term and going through the childbirth process. Impressive.
Genetics plays a major factor too. Some families are said to have “good genes” because they live many years longer than their neighbors.
Other factors with genetics include being genetically predisposed to certain health issues because a DNA strand was poorly formed.
Or they have a specific gene that others do not which predisposes them to certain diseases.
Healthcare and Hygiene
Standards of healthcare differ between communities, states, and even countries.
Prenatal and postnatal care is important and may vary.
Health checkups at different stages of life can catch cancer early, which increases the survivability percentage significantly.
Personal hygiene also plays a role in maintaining a healthy body.
For example, poor personal cleanliness can lead to a painful infection in the urinary tract. Fungal-based or bacterial infections can also occur when living in unclean homes.
Poor nutrition by consuming a high-fat, low-value diet can shorten lifespan in a variety of ways.
Inferior diets are often higher in saturated fats.
Processed foods can cause people to put on weight, as can sugary drinks. Eat badly for too long, and the weight will pile on.
Then this makes it harder on the body every day.
High-fat diets can gradually lead to blocked arteries. This is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks. And sometimes, death.
Inferior diets and higher weight on the scale also increase the likelihood of leading a sedentary life.
Not everyone has it in them to lose weight and keep it off, as the high levels of obesity in the US demonstrate.
The effort to exercise requires more motivation and perseverance than for someone who’s already slim and fit.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that vegan diets can be bad too. Too much sugar, processed vegan foods, and higher fat aren’t ideal.
Certainly, there are fat vegans but there are also overly skinny ones too. It varies!
Lifestyle is a major factor in longevity. Making consistently poor lifestyle choices will have an impact sooner or later.
Choices to take up smoking or vaping can affect our longevity due to the increased likelihood of developing cancer.
Often, it can require years before the result of a bad lifestyle catches up with you. This could be years of too little sleep, overconsumption of alcohol (or worse), and other excesses that damage your health and reduce your lifespan.
People who exercise regularly are consistently less likely to have a stroke, experience cardiac arrest, or have other negative health outcomes.
It also reduces stress levels and the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, which remains in the body for less time.
Living in an environment with polluted air or other contaminants can damage the lungs and cause cancer or other ailments.
Carelessness or Accident Prone
Some people are accident-prone or just careless about their activities.
They don’t look where they put their feet, trip up, fall, and break their jaw. Or they trip and break their leg. Sometimes, this can lead to a fatality if they fall on a sharp object.
Participating in extreme sports with a far higher likelihood of a major accident or fatalities affects lifespan too.
Cliff jumping, paragliding, and parachuting are activities where when something goes wrong, it can be both catastrophic and irreversible.
Crime in the Local Area
Crime in some neighborhoods is rife, whereas other towns and cities are relatively trouble-free. When residing in an area with a high crime rate, average longevity is reduced.
Random drive-by shootings and robberies at the local convenience store can be common occurrences in some places.
Moving to safer neighborhoods, even downsizing to afford it, can extend the average lifespan by avoiding being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Staying in unsafe neighborhoods or befriending people who live there causing you to make periodic visits does the opposite.
Some ethnicities live longer or shorter than others.
Some ethnicities are predisposed to sometimes suffer from ailments others are not so affected by, such as sickle cell disease in people of color.
So-called “God’s Hand” (or any other deity), or freak accidents that no one could have predicted are often game-enders.
These are a little like Black Swan events that happen infrequently but are unpredictable.
What Are The Health Benefits of Being Vegan?
Vegans tend to have lower levels of cholesterol, lower fat levels, and more nutrients that derive primarily from plants.
They may have better arteries if they prepare foods, partially tofu or other protein substitutes, in a healthy way. For instance, frying a vegan burger isn’t that healthy compared to grilling a slice of tofu would be.
Fewer processed foods when getting closer to the plant source (without additions being made) is healthier than a higher degree of processing.
There is a lower risk of getting different types of diabetes.
Heart disease is also less causative too.
Blood pressure levels can be lower when not adding too much salt to vegan meals.
Consuming more whole grains than average, fresh vegetables and fruits, and nuts play a large part in being healthier because of a vegan diet.
What The Studies Say
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a study in 2016 that confirmed that both vegan and vegetarian diets are healthier.
Furthermore, they stated that type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension were at lower risk levels too.
Some studies have confirmed that vegans live anywhere from 6 to ten years longer than non-vegans.
Older studies often come up with similar findings by ignoring how lifestyle factors alter the results.
However, mortality rates were compared in an Australian study and found that the mortality rate was similar for vegetable eaters versus omnivores (animal meat and plant eaters).
They also pointed out that secondary factors and healthy lifestyle factors impacted accurate results in older studies.
A recent study in the UK confirmed similar results for vegetarians versus non-vegetarians that it did not extend lifespan.
How Much Longer Do Vegans Eat Than Meat Eaters
It depends on whom you believe.
There is such a thing in data analysis as: “Correlation does not imply causation.”
What this means is that just because two things happen together, doesn’t mean one thing caused the other.
Invariably, one or more unknown or ignored outside factors created the correlation.
To break this down, do vegans live longer than non-vegans?
According to basic data from studies, it might be the case. However, these studies don’t go beyond the basic information to ask the critical question: Why? Furthermore, is it down to the vegan diet or lifestyle factors?
Know Your Why
As a group, vegans eat healthier food. Not just more vegetables, but less processed or fried foods.
As a group, vegans are also more focused on their health as a motivating factor.
Therefore, they tend to not overeat as often. They also exercise more regularly than the rest of the population.
These kinds of lifestyle differences, as we covered earlier in this article, are major contributors to longevity.
As such, yes, vegans live longer… But they do so because they live healthier lives in other respects.
They just also happen to stick to a vegan diet too.
And before you shake your head, this also is shown in some of the newer medical studies where they point out that earlier studies ignored lifestyle factors and the different behaviors of vegans by not screening this out in results.
When failing to do so, it led to faulty results suggesting vegans live 6+ years longer (and it’s because they only eat plants).
Yes, they live longer, but that’s not the reason why.
It’s not a sexy answer. It won’t grab headlines like “Vegans live longer than non-vegans” that’ll sell more papers. But it’s the truth.
So, Can Avoiding Meat Extend Your Life?
Not in and of itself. If you’re a healthy lifestyle type of person who exercises daily, doesn’t overeat, stays slim, doesn’t participate in risky sports, is mindful of your health, takes care of yourself in other respects, baring unexpected eventualities, you probably will live longer.
Being vegan often motivates these other better “turn my health around” behaviors, which is great. But eating only plants isn’t why you may live a longer life.