Yet again, a scientific study shows that if you don't want to die, plant-based nutrition is the way. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that intake of dietary fiber -- which comes only from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains, and is not found in meat, eggs, or dairy products -- was associated with a lowered risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases in both men (24% to 56% lower) and women (34% to 59% lower). Fiber was also found to be protective against cancer in men, though a significant effect was not found in women -- perhaps because men are more likely to die from cancers with a strong dietary link, such as esophageal cancer.
Putting yet another nail in the coffin of the psudeoscientific "paleo" diet fad, the results showed that fiber from grains (discouraged in paleo diets) was most strongly tied to lowered risk.
The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP, included more than 388,000 people ages 50 to 71. Diet was self-reported by a questionnaire that asked participants to estimate how often they ate 124 food items. After nine years, more than 31,000 of the participants had died, and national records were used to find out who died and the cause of death.
Risk factors including weight, education level, smoking and health status were accounted for in the statistical analysis, but the protective effect of fiber remained.