Too much red meat makes you sick, that’s true. But according to a new American study, the wrong vegetarian diet can greatly increase the risk of disease and therefore death.
A primarily plant-based diet is considered the healthiest form of nutrition. Because red meat, especially sausage and ham, promote inflammatory processes in the body, which increases the risk of numerous diseases (reports FITBOOK). However, under certain conditions, living as a vegetable follower is much less healthy, say researchers at Loma Linda University in California. Because: An incorrect vegetarian diet ensures a significantly increased risk of death.
Study with more than 77,000 participants
The research team had 77,437 women and men complete a questionnaire in which they marked more than 200 foods that are part of their daily diet. In addition, the subjects provided information on weight, medical history, alcohol consumption, sleep, exercise, lifestyle, etc. Seven and a half years later, 9,293 people had died. What was the cause of death, what diseases did they suffer from, and what diet did they eat? To gain even greater insight, the scientists developed a statistical model that helped them look at each variable independently, specifically including ultra-processed food intake. The results of the study were recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. one
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Under what conditions does a vegetarian diet provide the highest risk of death
“Our study addresses the question of what makes a vegetarian diet healthy or not,” explains study leader Professor Gary Fraser in a university statement. “It appears that the proportion of ultra-processed vegetarian foods in the diet is actually more important than the proportion of animal-based foods in relation to the risk of death.”
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This is how ultra-processed foods really make you sick
A high consumption of such foods is associated with the development of respiratory, kidney and neurological diseases, in particular, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Lots of red meat, on the other hand, can increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. For this reason, the team assessed mortality risks from two independent dietary factors:
- The proportion of the diet made up of ultra-processed foods relative to fresh produce.
- The proportion of the diet made up of animal-based foods (meat, eggs, and dairy products) relative to plant-based foods.
Up to 14 percent increased risk of death
Using their method of analysis, Fraser and his team calculated that people who got 50% of their total calories from ultra-processed foods faced 14% higher mortality than people who got just 12.5% of their total calories of ultra-processed foods. “Our study shows how it is possible to be a bad vegetarian or a good non-vegetarian,” Fraser said. For comparison: Anyone who eats around 40 grams of red meat a day increases their risk of death by “only” 8 percent, as long as they keep their hands off ultra-processed foods as much as possible.
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Conclusion: Being a vegetarian is not always healthy
Overall, Fraser says, the study showed that a vegetarian or vegan diet made up of the wrong foods can be extremely unhealthy and therefore increase the risk of death. “If you’re interested in living longer, you should avoid a diet rich in processed ingredients,” says Fraser. “Also, make red meat an exception. As simple as that.”