Too much red meat makes you sick, that’s right. But according to a new US study, improper vegetarian diet can increase the risk of disease and thus death far more.
A mainly plant-based diet is considered to be the healthiest form of nutrition. Because red meat, especially sausage and ham, promotes inflammatory processes in the body, which increases the risk of several diseases (FITBOOK reported). But under certain conditions, living as a veggie follower is far less healthy, say researchers at Loma Linda University in California. Because: a wrong vegetarian diet ensures a significantly higher risk of death.
Study with over 77,000 participants
The research team got 77,437 women and men to fill out a questionnaire in which they crossed out over 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 researchers developed a statistical model that helped them look at each variable independently, including specifically ultra-processed food intakes. The results of the study were recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1
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Under what conditions does a vegetarian diet give the highest risk of death
“Our study addresses the question of what makes a vegetarian diet healthy or unhealthy,” explains study leader Prof. Gary Fraser in a statement from the university. “It seems that the proportion of ultra-processed vegetarian foods in the diet is actually more important than the proportion of animal foods in relation to the risk of death.”
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This is how sick ultra-processed foods really do
High consumption of these foods is associated with the development of respiratory, kidney and neurological disorders – especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. High 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 consisting of ultra-processed foods in relation to fresh raw materials.
- The proportion of the diet consisting of animal foods (meat, eggs and dairy products) in relation to plant-based foods.
Up to 14 percent higher risk of death
Using their analysis method, Fraser and his team calculated that people who received 50 percent of their total calories from ultra-processed foods faced a 14 percent higher mortality rate than people who received only 12.5 percent of their total calories. from 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 about 40 grams of red meat a day increases their risk of death “only” by 8 percent – as long as they keep their hands off ultra-processed foods as much as possible.
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Conclusion: It is not always healthy to be a vegetarian
Overall, Fraser says, the study showed that a vegetarian or vegan diet consisting of the wrong foods can be extremely unhealthy, thus increasing the risk of death. “If you’re interested in living longer, you should avoid a diet high in processed ingredients,” says Fraser. “Also make red meat an exception. As simple as that. “