A study of more than 12,000 people found those on a vegan diet, who ate vegetables, whole grains and nuts, reduced their risk of dying from any cause by a quarter over a 29 years period.
ALEXANDRA THOMPSON: ‘Vegan diets really are good for you, research suggests. A study of more than 12,000 people found those who ate mostly plant-based foods were 32 per cent less likely to die from heart disease. Opting for vegetables, whole grains and nuts also reduced their risk of dying from any cause by a quarter over 29 years, scientists found…
Heart disease is responsible for a quarter of all deaths in the US and UK, statistics show. Vegetarian diets have been found to reduce risk factors for conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. However, studies have thrown up mixed results as to whether cutting back on meat and fish reduces the risk of an early death.
To understand this better, the researchers analysed data from 12,168 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Its participants, who were aged 45 to 64, completed a food questionnaire at the start of the study in 1987. The researchers then grouped the volunteers, who were considered to be otherwise healthy, according to their adherence to a plant-based diet. Rates of heart disease and death among the participants were assessed nearly three decades later in 2016.
Results revealed those who ate the most vegan foods were 16 per cent less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed the least. The highest plant-based consumption was defined as an average of 4.1-to-4.8 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day and just 0.8-to-0.9 portions of red or processed meat. Those with the lowest intake of fruit and vegetables ate an average of 2.3 servings a day and 1.2 portions of meat.
Cutting back on meat also reduced the participants’ risk of dying from heart disease, including heart attacks, stroke or heart failure, by 32 per cent. And opting for more vegetarian or vegan foods lowered their risk of dying by any cause over the course of the study by 25 per cent. ‘Our findings underscore the importance of focusing on your diet,’ lead author Dr Casey Rebholz said… Dr Rebholz noted this is one of the first studies to compare the effects of plant versus animal-based diets among the general public’. SOURCE…