Just being a vegetarian isn’t good enough

London: Simply following a vegetarian diet may not be enough to reduce cardiovascular disease risk as the health benefits of plant-based diets depend largely on the specific foods consumed, according to a study. The research suggests that people following a plant-based diet who frequently consumed less-healthy foods like sweets, refined grains and juice showed no heart health benefit compared with those who did not eat a plant-based diet.

“Based on these results, it seems that simply following a plant-based or vegetarian diet is not enough to reduce cardiovascular disease risk,” said Demosthenes Panagiotakos, a professor at Harokopio University of Athens in Greece. “It is also important to focus on specific, healthful plant-based food groups to see a benefit in terms of reducing cardiovascular disease,” Panagiotakos said.

Researchers tracked eating behaviour and the development of heart disease among more than 2,000 Greek adults over a 10-year period, beginning in 2002.

The researchers analysed the relationship between diet and the development of cardiovascular disease using a dietary index that divided participants into three groups based on the number of animal-based foods they consumed per day. Men eating fewer animal-based foods were 25% less likely to develop heart disease compared to men eating more animal-based foods, the researchers found.

The same trend was seen in women, but the relationship was less strong, with an overall risk reduction of about 11% among women eating the fewest animal-based foods, they said. “These findings highlight that even a small reduction in the daily consumption of animal-based products — principally the less healthy foods, such as processed meat products — accompanied by an increase in healthy plant-based foods may contribute to better cardiovascular health,” Panagiotakos said.

(For all the latest News, Mumbai, Entertainment, Cricket, Business and Featured News updates, visit Free Press Journal. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and do like our Facebook page for continuous updates on the go)

Free Press Journal