Study: Vegans, vegetarians at higher risk for stroke than meat eaters

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New research shows the new trend for “plant-based meat” may lead to a higher risk of stroke.

“(V)egetarians and vegans had a 20% higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters, particularly hemorrhagic stroke — caused when blood from an artery begins to bleed into the brain,” CNN reports. “This translates to 3 more cases of stroke per 1,000 people over 10 years.”

The study, conducted by the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in England, followed 48,000 people for 18 years and is among the largest-ever studies of vegetarian diets.

“(Lead researcher Tammy) Tong’s research team followed more than 48,000 people in UK with an average age of 45, who were grouped into meat eaters (24,428), pescetarians (7,506), and vegetarians, including vegans (16,254),” CNN reports. “Participants were tracked on average for 18 years and during the study period there were were 2,820 cases of coronary heart disease and 1,072 cases of stroke.”

Scientists suggest the increased stroke cases may be caused by the overall lower nutritional value of vegetarian diets, particularly a lack of cholesterol and vitamin B12. Pescetarians, whose consumption of fish provides them with B12 and some cholesterol, did not experience a higher rate of stroke.

The study comes as candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination propose federal bans on meat and new federal programs to herd Americans into vegetarian diets.