Can Plant-Based Diets Reduce Medical Expenses?

plant-based diet
plant-based diet

According to new data from the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study, following a plant-based diet reduces health expenses compared with consuming a diet containing meat. 

Researchers from Taiwan looked at more than 12,000 Buddhist volunteers and compared a diet of frequent fruit, vegetables, soy and nuts (vegetarian) compared to a diet characterized by relatively more consumption of meat and fish and less plant-based foods (omnivore).  Vegetarians had a 15 percent lower total medical expenditure and a 13 percent lower outpatient medical expenditure, compared with omnivores in this study.

Specifically, vegetarians had lower expenses related to hypertension, dyslipidemia, depression, heart disease and renal disease. 

Compared to Taiwan’s general population, as opposed to this cohort, the vegetarian had a 25 percent lower medical expenditure.

Lin CL, W JH, Chang CC, Chiu THT, Lin MN. Vegetarian diets and medical expenditure in Taiwan — a matched cohort study. Nutrients. 2019;11:2688.