Vegetarians may live longer, but not necessarily because they have given up meat, according to a study in Preventive Medicine. The researchers looked at data from 243,096 adults over the age of 45, with an average age of 62, living in New South Wales in Australia. They found no significant difference in all-cause mortality between omnivores and vegetarians. Six years later 16,836 participants had died, of which 80 were vegetarians. Having adjusted for other contributory factors, no significant difference was found in longevity between meat eaters and those with a mostly plant-based diet. The researchers say that one possible explanation for their finding is recent changes in the average vegetarian’s consumption. As plant-based diets become more popular, more vegetarian junk food has become available, bringing vegetarianism more in line with a ‘normal’ diet. An earlier study suggested that vegetarians and vegans suffer socially. Meat eaters, who make up a significant majority of the population, evaluated vegetarians and vegans more negatively than other common targets of prejudice. ‘Strikingly, only drug addicts were evaluated more negatively than vegetarians and vegans,’ the authors wrote.