Following a vegetarian diet reduces health care expenses, compared with consuming a diet containing meat, according to new data from the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study. Researchers from Taiwan looked at more than 12,000 Buddhist volunteers and compared a diet with frequent consumption of fruits, vegetables, soy, and nuts (vegetarian) to a diet characterized by relatively more consumption of meat and fish and less plant-based foods (omnivorous). Vegetarians had a 15 percent lower total medical expenditure and a 13 percent lower outpatient medical expenditure, compared with omnivores in this cohort. 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 vegetarians had a 25 percent lower medical expenditure.