According to new research, eating meat might be killing you – and the planet. A new study conducted by Loma Linda University shows that vegetarians and semi-vegetarians live 20% longer than people who eat a meat-based diet. On top of that, vegetarian diets significantly reduce carbon emissions, since various studies have shown that meat production contributes anywhere from 14 to 50% of all greenhouse gasses. According to the study, vegetarian food production resulted in about a third fewer emissions than a meat-eating diet.

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The study is the first of its kind to look at a large, living population – over 96,000 people – rather than simulated data or a small group of individuals. The data from the study shows that a vegetarian diet really is a healthy option, which is useful information given our current diet confusion (Paleo diet? Full fat? Low carb?). According to Sam Soret, one of the co-authors of the study, “the takeaway message is that relatively small reductions in the consumption of animal products result in non-trivial environmental benefits and health benefits.”

Related: Students Reap Major Benefits at the First School in America to Go Vegetarian

The full study hasn’t been published yet – it is slated to come out in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutritio – but the study, conducted by Loma Linda University on a diverse range of over 73,000 Seventh Day Adventists could help point the way to a healthier life and a healthier planet.

Via Treehugger

Lead image via Shutterstock, image via David Saddler