BENEFITS, RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH VEGETARIAN DIET
The authors of a long term study have concluded that pescetarianism and vegetarianism have an association with a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease, but they noted that vegetarians have a slightly higher risk of stroke.
According to medicalnewstoday.com, the study aimed at filling in some gaps on plant-based diets and their effect on the risk of stroke and ischemic heart disease.
The scientists took data from 48,188 people whom they followed for an average of 18.1 years, as the participants, who had an average age of 45 years at the start of the study, had no history of ischemic heart disease or stroke.
The team combined vegans with vegetarians for the main analysis due to the small number of vegans in the dataset.
The researchers, using food questionnaires, could also assess overall food intake and nutrient levels.
After adjusting for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors, the analysis revealed both positive and negative relationships between cardiovascular health and reduced meat intake.
The rate of ischemic heart disease among pescatarians was 13 per cent lower than that of meat-eaters, while vegetarians had a rate that was 22 per cent lower.
The authors added that the positive association appears to be due to lower rates of hypertension and diabetes, as well as lower BMI and cholesterol levels.
However, even after the scientists had adjusted the data to account for these factors, the effect was still “marginally significant.”
They also checked the participants’ eating habits at two-time points that were years apart, finding that adherence was good overall.
However, some of the weakness of the study includes – participants self-reported their diet, which leaves room for error and misreporting. Diet can also fluctuate over days, weeks, and years.
– Copyright PUNCH