It’s estimated that 22% of the global population is vegetarian, and studies have shown that not eating meat reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Even eating less meat could be a benefit to people’s health. In fact, a new study has found that meat consumption could affect cancer risk, and eating less meat could lower the risks.
In the study, the researchers found that “In this large British cohort, being a low meat-eater, fish-eater, or vegetarian was associated with a lower risk of all cancer sites when compared to regular meat-eaters.”
What are the advantages of eating less meat?
The study analyzed data from over 472,000 adults in the UK between 2006 and 2010. The participants reported on various aspects of their diet, including how often they ate meat or fish. Then, the researchers tracked their health over an 11 year period.
One of the key findings of this study was that there was a link between meat consumption and cancer risk. The less meat the individuals ate, the lower the risk of developing cancer was.
Overall, vegetarians and vegans were 14% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer. The risk of breast cancer was 20% lower in postmenopausal women, and the risk of men developing prostate cancer was 31% lower for vegetarians.
These findings highlight the effect meat could have on people’s health in the long term, although the team pointed out that more research is needed to understand how diet affects cancer risk.
More people have switched to a plant-based diet in recent years for environmental reasons. One report on climate change and land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends reducing meat consumption for reducing the effects of climate change.
Meat production has many harmful effects on the environment. Agriculture produces approximately 25% of heat-trapping gases from human activities.