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MYTH #7:

Vegetarians live longer and have more energy and endurance than meat-eaters.

Surprising as it may seem, some prior studies have shown the annual all-causedeath rate of vegetarian men to be slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (0.93% vs 0.89%). Similarly, the annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian women was shown to be significantly higher than that of non-vegetarian women (0.86% vs 0.54%). (40)

Russell Smith, PhD, referred to in myth # 5, in his authoritative study on heart disease, showed that as animal product consumption increased among some study groups, death rates decreased! Such results were not obtained among vegetarian subjects. For example, in a study published by Burr and Sweetnam in 1982, analysis of mortality data revealed that, although vegetarians had a slightly (.11%) lower rate of heart disease than non-vegetarians, the all-cause death rate was much HIGHER for vegetarians (41).

It is usually claimed that the lives of predominantly meat-eating peoples are short-lived, but the Aborigines of Australia, who traditionally eat a diet rich in animal products, are known for their longevity (at least before colonisation by Europeans). Within Aboriginal society, there is a special caste of the elderly (42). Obviously, if no old people existed, no such group would have existed. In his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Price has numerous photographs of elderly native peoples from around the world (42). Explorers such as Vilhjalmur Stefansson reported great longevity among the Inuit (again, before colonisation). (43)

Similarly, the Russians of the Caucasus mountains live to great ages on a diet of fatty pork and whole milk products. The Hunzas, also known for their robust health and longevity, eat substantial portions of goat's milk which has a higher saturated fat content than cow's milk (44). In contrast, the largely vegetarian inhabitants of southern India have the shortest life-spans in the world (45). Dr Weston Price, DDS, travelled around the world in the 1920s and 1930s, investigating native diets. Without exception, he found a strong correlation among diets rich in animal fats, with robust health and athletic ability. Special foods for Swiss athletes, for example, included bowls of fresh, raw cream! In Africa, Dr Price discovered that groups whose diets were rich in fatty fish and organ meats, like liver, consistently carried off the prizes in athletic contests, and that meat-eating tribes always dominated peoples whose diets were largely vegetarian (42).

It is popular in sports nutrition to recommend "carb loading" for athletes, to increase their endurance levels. But recent studies done in New York and South Africa show that the opposite is true: athletes who "carb loaded" had significantly less endurance than those who "fat loaded" before athletic events (46).