Vegans and Vegetarians may have higher Stroke risk
Vegetarian diets are quite popular and held with high regard among health enthusiasts. So much so that it’s considered as a cheat code for having good health. But some recent study findings argue that may not be entirely true. In a research published in the British Medical Journal, it’s been concluded that those who consume meat have fewer cases of stroke compared to those who consume vegetables. It must be noted that the study shows an association between a vegetarian diet and increased stroke risk – not direct cause and effect.
Nitty-Gritty of The Study:
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) conducted a study among 18,000 people in which their diets, medical history, and activities like smoking were taken into account. The meat eaters were found to have a 13% lower risk of heart disease, while vegetarians and vegans had a 22% lower risk. But those who were consuming vegetarian diets had a 20% higher risk of stroke. While vegan diets are quite different from vegetarian diets, these groups were combined together as there were very small numbers of vegans in the study. Researchers suggested that the increased stroke risk could be due to low vitamin B12 levels in the diet, but it remains theoretical than scientifically proven.
Limitations Of The Study:
Although the study shows a clear result, the cause of it is yet to be properly determined. Sure the study had a relatively large sample size and long-term monitoring, but to make a clear cut case for a vegetarian diet having stroke risk is just not possible with the amount of data they have. Vegetarian diets are widely accepted as a healthy diet. Therefore it’s a bold claim to make that they are instigators of stroke. The study merely suggests that a lack of vitamin B12 may be related to the increased risk of stroke among the vegetarians. But this finding is largely speculative, and no proper association can be made between a low intake of non-veg items and an increased risk of stroke. Therefore, the study must be replicated in other continents to include a wide variety of people. And a precise measurement of the nutrient factor responsible for stroke must be made to provide any weight behind the research data.
A Change in Diet For Vegetarians?
So what does this latest finding mean for vegetarians and vegans? Do they need to change their diet? Since there is no solid proof that the study is true for every case, vegetarians shouldn’t see any reason to change their diets. This is the only study to date that showed an increased risk of stroke with vegetarian or vegan diets.
Further, this study shows that vegetarians have a case of decreased risk of heart disease, thus giving a reason to vegetarians to stay on with their current diet. So if you’re a vegetarian, there’s no need to go panic-mode and change your diet. And for meat-eaters, these results don’t suggest that they should be consuming more meat. What they should do is focus on getting themselves a more balanced diet that has both veg and non-veg food items.
The research finds people eating a vegetarian or vegan diet have a reduced risk of heart disease, but an increased risk of stroke. Experts say this could be because vegetarian diets lack certain essential nutrients, but this is merely observational as there is not much concrete proof to the study.