Food & Drink

Study Shows Vegetarians Are at Lower Risk for This Cancer

Published On 03/10/2015 Published On 03/10/2015

Vegetarianism is clearly not for the weak, but if you stick with it, you could be placing yourself at lower risk for a very common cancer. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, vegetarians have a lower incidence of colorectal cancers than their meat-eating peers -- with pescetarians in particular being 43% less likely to develop the disease.

Dr. Michael Orlich and his team looked exclusively at Seventh Day Adventists over an average of seven years. (They swear the numbers were just coincidence.) The scientists chose that group because its faith encourages healthy eating; Seventh Day Adventists are already known to have fewer cases of obesity and diabetes. Of the 77,659 subjects surveyed, about half were vegetarian, though they identified as different types (vegan, lacto-ovo, and pescetarian). The team found that the vegetarians as a whole were 22% less likely to have colorectal cancer, but that pescetarians in particular were at a lowered risk. That's probably due to the omega-3 fatty acids they're getting from their fish, combined with all that fiber present in vegetables. All this means it might just be time for you to reconsider going vegetarian -- or, if you're far too in love with steak, at least upping your mackerel intake.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and loves burgers too much to go vegetarian. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.

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