Vegetarians are associated with better health and lower total mortality rates than non-vegetarians.

This study evaluated the relationship between dietary patterns and the risk of cancer, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and total mortality. Researchers examined the lifestyle and diets of 34,192 members of several Seventh-day Adventist Churches in California. Dietary and lifestyle information obtained include tobacco smoking and alcohol, nut, meat, legume, fruit, egg, coffee, doughnut, white bread, and whole grain intakes.

Researchers found out that subjects on vegetarian diets had lower risk of developing arthritis, cancer, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, fatal and non-fatal IHD than the non-vegetarians. Fatal and non-fat IHD risk was found to increase with high intakes of beef and white bread but decrease by approximately 31% and 37% with high consumption of nuts and strictly vegetarian diets respectively.

Non-vegetarian diets, especially those rich in beef, were strongly linked to the development of colon, prostate, and bladder cancers. On the other hand, low incidence of prostate, pancreatic, lung, and colon cancers was observed in non vegetarians who are frequent consumers of legumes and fruits. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that vegetarians have lower chances of dying from chronic disease-related deaths than non-vegetarians.