Being vegetarian isn't always healthy

Vegetarian diets are widely touted as a healthier option than eating meat .According to Daily mail

Eating a vegetarian diet isn't always healthy and some may increase the risk of heart disease, scientists say.

But experts said that it can lead to a higher risk of heart disease – if vegetarians eat lots of refined grains, potatoes and sweets, and indulge in sweetened drinks.

Researchers designed separate diets which focused on plant food with a reduced animal food intake and a vegetarian diet that emphasised the intake of healthy plant foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

They also studied a third which was based on unhealthy diet of less healthy plant foods like refined grains.

Dr Ambika Satija, a postdoctoral fellow said: "we found that healthy plant foods were associated with lower risk, whereas less healthy plant foods and animal foods were associated with higher risk.

'It's apparent that there is a wide variation in the nutritional quality of plant foods, making it crucial to take into consideration the quality of foods in a plant-based diet.'

How was the study carried out?

Researchers studies samples from more than 200,000 participants and followed up with a questionnaire every two years for 20 years on their lifestyle, health behaviours and medical history.

Lead author Dr Satija chose to exclude participants with coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and coronary artery surgery.

But during a follow-up found that 8,631 participants had developed coronary heart disease.

Results showed that a diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables were associated with a substantially lower risk of heart disease.

In a follow up to the research authors will now examine dietary patterns to understand the effect of gradual adherence to a plant-based diet through reduced animal food intake and increased plant food intake on heart disease risk.

They deserve more emphasis

Dr Kim Allan Williams said: 'Plant-based diets with whole grains, unsaturated fats and an abundance of fruits and vegetables deserve more emphasis in dietary recommendations.

'Just as physical activity is a continuum, perhaps an emphasis on starting with smaller dietary tweaks rather than major changes would be more encouraging and sustainable.'

 

N.H.Kh

 

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