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Plant-based Diet Better for Healthy Long Life: Study

Plant-based Diet

A new review of nearly 50 studies published over the last two decades has found that vegetarian and vegan diets are linked to better health outcomes, including lower risks of heart diseases, cancer, and death.

Previous research has shown that a diet low in plant products and high in meat, refined grains, sugar, and salt is associated with a higher risk of death. Studies have also indicated that reducing the consumption of animal-based products and increasing plant-based diets could lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.

However, the overall benefits of such diets have remained unclear.

The new research review assessed 48 studies published between January 2000 and June 2023, which themselves compiled evidence from multiple prior studies on the links between plant-based diets, heart health, and cancer risk.

The latest review found that, overall, vegetarian and vegan diets have a “robust statistical association” with better health status on a range of risk factors linked to metabolic diseases, cancer, and death, such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

These diets are linked to reduced risks of heart disease, gastrointestinal cancer, and prostate cancer, according to the scientists’ findings.

The findings suggest that plant-based diets are associated with significant health benefits.

However, researchers caution that the strength of the links found in the review may be limited due to many differences between the assessed studies in terms of the diet regimens followed, patient demographics, and study duration.

Some plant-based diets may also introduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies for some people, the scientists cautioned.

They warned against any large-scale recommendation of plant-based diets until more research is completed.

“Caution should be paid before broadly suggesting the adoption of A/AFPDs (animal/animal-free plant-based diets) since the strength-of-evidence of study results is significantly limited by the large study heterogeneity alongside the potential risks associated with potentially restrictive regimens,” researchers wrote.

However, in evaluating the different impacts of animal-free diets on heart health and cancer risk, the review showed that a vegetarian diet can be beneficial to human health.

Researchers say such a diet can “be one of the effective preventive strategies for the two most impactful chronic diseases on human health in the 21st century.”

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