A new study conducted by Harvard Medical School has shown that up to a third of early deaths are preventable with the transition to a plant-based diet.
According to the research, 200,000 lives could be saved every year in the United Kingdom if more people adopted plant-based diets.
While researcher, Dr Walter Willett, explained that the benefits of a plant-based diet have been hugely underestimated.
“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,” Willett said.
“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,” Willett said. “Perhaps not too surprising because everything in the body is connected by the same underlying processes.”
Dr Neal Bernard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), also explained how the benefits of a plant-based diet has the potential to change someone’s life.
“I think we’re underestimating the effect,” he told delegates. “I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful.
“A low-fat vegan diet is better than any other diet I have ever seen for improving diabetes.
“With regards to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis we are seeing tremendous potential there too. Partly because of things we are avoiding and cholesterol but also because of the magical things that are in vegetables and fruits which just aren’t in spam.”