Swapping meat for plant-based protein cuts heart disease

The evidence for

Advocates of plant-based eating say vegans typically have lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, a lower body mass index, and reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer. 

A study published last month suggests eating a vegetarian diet slashes the risk of heart failure by almost half.

Those who swap processed meats and fatty foods for a mostly plant-based diet are 42 per cent less likely to develop heart failure, it was found. A diet which includes whole grains, fish, beans, and dark green leafy plants lead to a heart-healthy lifestyle, scientists from Icahn School of Medicine in New York said.

Previously, scientists at the University of Ghent found that swapping dairy for soya products could substantially reduce a person’s risk of getting cancer.

Among those eating a soya-rich diet, the risk of developing colon cancer is reduced by 44 per cent in women and 40 per cent in men, the research revealed back in April

Women who swap dairy for soya have a 42 per cent lesser risk of getting stomach cancer, while men’s risk is reduced by 29 per cent, the study found.

Cutting out dairy also reduces men’s prostate cancer risk by 30 per cent, the research adds. 

And in August, French scientists discovered that consuming processed meat can even worsen symptoms of asthma.

Research suggests that veganism is on the rise in recent years (stock image)

The case against

However, London-based nutritionist Rob Hobson warns cutting out milk and dairy increases the risk of serious health problems like osteoporosis later in life. 

He told MailOnline: ‘The problem is that milk and dairy products are an important source of several key nutrients.

‘Cutting out on the foods reduces the intake of calcium and iodine – raising the risk of deficiencies. 

‘Dairy products are also a useful source of iodine – a micronutrient important for women during pregnancy and young children that contributes to growth and brain development. 

‘Our bones continue to grow until we reach our mid thirty and during this time it’s important to make sure diets contain enough calcium.’  

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) found a large number of young people are failing to get enough calcium in their diets to meet their needs. 

The NDNS found 22 per cent of girls aged 11 to 18 and 10 per cent of adult women in the UK don’t get enough iodine in their diet. 

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