What this study was actually about was the presence of a genetic variation that has evolved in cultures that have eaten a plant-based diet over hundreds of generations. This includes members of East Asia, India and Africa; a different adaptation allowing for a seafood diet has been found in Greenland. The gene in question allows those who carry it to more efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into their downstream substances, which are involved in processes such as brain development and inflammation control. How is this involved in heart disease and cancer risk? While omega-3 fatty acids can be transformed into anti-inflammatory substances, omega-6 fatty acids can be turned into pro-inflammatory products. As I describe in my book, inflammation has been found to be a key driver in the development of heart disease and cancer.
|Vegetarian meal from Telugu cuisine. Source: PriyaBooks|
Overall, this research only vindicates the work of Weston A. Price, but without the vegetarian-bashing. So is the vegetarian diet incompatible with antiaging and longevity? No, the "perfect diet" is individual and varied, not for mainstream media outlets or a government to decide.