Study says plant-based meat may be good for heart health

An investigation published in The Lancet examined the effects of plant-based foods on cardiovascular disease (CVD), focusing on how food processing affects health outcomes.

The study analyzed dietary information from 126,842 adults, ages 40 to 69, who were monitored over a median period of nine years.

The core of the research categorized foods into two significant groups: plant-sourced and animal-sourced, with a further division based on whether these foods were ultra-processed (UPF) or not [1]. The findings are important, revealing that an increased intake of plant-sourced, non-ultra-processed foods is associated with considerable health benefits [2].

Specifically, for every 10% increase in consumption of these foods, the risk of developing CVD decreased by 7% and the risk of CVD-related death reduced by 13%.

Conversely, the study found detrimental effects associated with consuming plant-based ultra-processed foods. These foods were linked to a 5% increased risk of developing CVD and a 12% increase in the risk of death related to the disease.

The research suggests that not all plant-based foods confer the same health benefits; much depends on how they are processed.

This comprehensive analysis underscores the complexity of dietary impacts on heart health, pointing out that simply choosing plant-based foods is not enough; the nature of the food’s processing plays a critical role [3].

The findings advocate for a nuanced understanding of diet and health, empowering health professionals, nutritionists and individuals at risk of cardiovascular disease to consider food processing in their dietary recommendations and guidelines.

The study’s insights are critical for making informed dietary choices.


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