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Major Study: Plant-Based Diet Best for Heart

A vegetarian diet cuts your chance of having fatal heart disease by one third. That’s the conclusion of a major study that was launched in the 1990s in Europe and involved 45,000 people. [readon]

Prof. Tom Key of Oxford University, who co-authored the study, said: “The results clearly show that the risk of heart disease in ­vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians.”

Of the 45,000 people who volunteered for the study, 34 percent did not eat meat or fish. Among all the participants, there were 1,066 hospital admissions and 169 deaths attributable to heart disease. Only 34 percent of those were vegetarian. And they were 32 percent less likely to be included in the problem figures.

“This reminds us we should try to eat a balanced and varied diet,” said Tracy Parker of the British Heart Foundation, “whether this includes meat or not.”

She added that “choosing the veggie option on the menu is not a shortcut to a healthy heart. There are still plenty of foods suitable for vegetarians that are also high in saturated fat and salt.”

She could have added, however, that cutting out other animal foods, like dairy, deals with most of the saturated fat issue.

More details of the study are at Medical News Today, and the study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.