“Not everyone may want to be a vegan or vegetarian.”
Eating plant-based foods may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to a new research review. An analysis of 37 studies found that the greatest health benefits come from replacing processed meat with plant-based products, which reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 20%.
Replacing meat and dairy products with whole grains, beans, nuts and olive oil can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease diseases and type 2 diabetes, says a major review of the effects of diet on health, writes The Guardian.
Scientists in Germany analyzed 37 published studies to evaluate the benefits of switching from red and processed meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy to plant-based foods such as beans, nuts, whole grains, oils, fruits and vegetables.
< p>They found marked reductions in heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as a reduction in the risk of death from any cause during the periods covered by the studies, especially when red and processed meats were replaced by plant-based foods.
“These findings highlight the potential benefits of switching from animal-based diets, including red and processed meats, eggs, dairy, poultry and butter, to plant-based foods such as nuts, legumes, whole grains and olive oil,” said Dr Sabrina. Schlesinger, senior author of the study.
The risk of heart disease was approximately 25% lower when 50 grams of processed meat per day was replaced with nuts or legumes. Meanwhile, replacing one egg per day with 25 grams of nuts was associated with a 17% reduction in risk. But there was no clear evidence that replacing poultry or fish with nuts or legumes reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Similar benefits were seen for type 2 diabetes and all causes of death in the studies reviewed. The authors estimated that an approximately 20% reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes was observed when replacing 50 g of processed meat per day with 28 g of nuts, or when replacing a daily egg with 30 g of whole grains or 10 g of nuts.
Replacing processed meat, which was often red meat in the form of ham, bacon, sausage or hot dogs, was associated with clear health benefits. According to a study published in BMC Medicine, replacing 50g of processed meat per day with 28-50g of nuts was associated with a 21% reduction in the risk of death from any cause in the studies evaluated.
The study does not delve into the reasons for the observed health benefits, but the meat is often high in saturated fatty acids, which are thought to increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Processed meats can also contain high levels of sodium, nitrates and nitrites. On the other hand, plant-based foods are rich in essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation.
Professor Nita Foroohi, an expert in nutrition, diabetes and obesity from the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, said the most compelling findings from the study involved replacing processed and unprocessed red meat with plant-based foods.
One of the downsides is that the study does not differentiate between different types of dairy products. According to Professor Foroohi, there is some evidence that fermented milk products such as yoghurt and cheese are healthier. The study also did not look at the benefits of replacing red and processed meats with other animal products such as fish, poultry and eggs. “Not everyone may want to be a vegan or vegetarian,” she said.
“Researchers are rightly calling for more and better research,” adds Nita Foroohi. – But while that awaits, it would be wise to pay special attention to reducing consumption of red and processed meats, which potentially have the greatest adverse health and environmental impacts.