Vegans! You may be one step ahead of the game! In a five year study conducted by Loma Linda University new research suggests that vegans may be the least likely to be diagnosed with all types of cancer.
Previous studies have been conclusive in showing that vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer as opposed to non-vegetarians in North America, although studies in other countries are not so conclusive. This could be due to many different factors such as the fact that different countries may have different standards of living and therefore food availability to start with.
According to Yessenia Tantamango-Bartley, the finding that vegans have lower cancer rates in the US can help us understand how vegetarian subtypes relate to specific cancers. This could further help to identify the relationship between specific foods and cancer mitigation.
The Adventist Health Study-2 took place from 2002-2007 and followed 69,120 individuals in the Adventist Church in the United States and Canada.
The purpose of the study was to find links between metabolic risk indicators, foods, nutrients, lifestyle factors and cancer formation.
The participants in the study filled out a questionnaire which identified how often they consumed various foods. From this information they were further classified into dietary categories. The study listed those categories as follows: vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and non-vegetarian. This allowed the researchers to explore vegetarian subcategories more completely than other vegetarian studies. It also allowed researchers to confirm incident cancers in the 38 states of the US instead of just a specific area or state. This will help verify cancer trends throughout the United States. Lastly, the use of Adventists and spread of the study reduces the possibility of other factors influencing the results.
The study found that being lacoto-ovo-vegetarian provided protection from gastrointestinal cancer. Vegans on the other hand, had the least amount of cancer in female organs and Pesco vegetarians had less urinary system cancer and cancers of the respiratory system.
Overall, this study really illustrates that eating a vegetarian diet in general is good step in the right direction, but that eating an even stricter diet by excluding all animal products may be beneficial, especially for women. Of course, like all things, readers should be aware that Seventh-day Adventists do tend to have other healthy lifestyle factors that may go into the positive results that they get. For instance, they don’t drink or smoke and they as whole, promote exercise.