According to the study, those who abstain from meat are "less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment."
Vegetarians were twice as likely to have atopy (allergies), a 50 percent increase in cancer and a 50 percent increase in heart attacks. They also drank less alcohol.
This is not the first time counter-intuitive research has shown the negative effects of consuming a meat-free diet.
In 2010 the WHO published a study where 30,604 people were followed for an average of 8.7 years on their fruit and vegetable consumption. Those who consumed the recommended 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day did not have less cancer nor enjoyed better health. They were even forced to conclude the opposite.
"A very small inverse association between intake of total fruits and vegetables and cancer risk was observed in this study."
This study even concluded that a "..growing body of epidemiological, clinical and experimental evidence suggesting that regular cheese intake may reduce the risk of cardiovascular outcomes."
Now let's compare this new study against what the US Department of Agriculture will likely recommend in the 2015 dietary guidelines. As I wrote in a previous post, the interagency committee charged with reviewing and updating the dietary guidelines is hearing from academics and food activists (with creative titles like “food systems consultant") to reengineer our food system without considering how these changes would affect the American public, farmers, food manufacturers and other producers. Instead of following its congressional mandate to provide "…nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public . . . based on the preponderance of scientific and medical knowledge currently available" the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is considering such unrelated issues as how the government might encourage Americans to make “environmentally friendly food choices” and “low impact food choices” and how to make Americans look at food with an “ecological perspective.” They are also likely to suggest Americans move toward a plant-based diet–which is just another way of saying vegetarian.
The DGAC's mandate is clear; they are to make recommendations based on the latest scientific and medical information. Hopefully, they'll consider this latest research before finalizing the new guidelines.