The findings, published under the cheery title "Is Meat Killing Us?" found that long-term vegetarians extended their average lifespans by 3.6 years.

By Gillie Houston
Updated May 24, 2017
Summer Vegetable Ceviche
Credit: © Con Poulos

Good news, herbivores: Science still suggests that your vegetarian diet is healthy. A big new metastudy from the Mayo Clinic of Arizona, which examined six existing studies with a total subject count of 1.5 million, found that eating meat might have dire consequences.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association under the cheery title "Is Meat Killing Us?" found that omnivores are subject to higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Perhaps most striking was the suggestion that going vegetarian for at least 17 years could extend average life expectancy by 3.6 years.

Red meat seemed to be the worst culprit. Scientists also found no apparent difference between consuming processed meats versus steaks and other whole cuts, suggesting that you can't just swap the salami in your sandwich for roast beef and expect better health outcomes.

The study authors recommended that physicians tell patients to eat more vegetables and to limit their intake of animal products. We can't predict how this news will affect summer grilling season, but it might be enough to make you consider placing a veggie burger between your buns.