A massive new study shows that a vegetarian diet is no more heart-healthy than one with meat.1
Rutgers University scientists have painstakingly analyzed the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This is a major research effort that took a detailed look at the health and nutritional status of more than 12,000 Americans.2
The analysis showed that 2.3% of the people in the survey were vegetarians. And over a 10-year period their risk of developing heart disease was the same as meat eaters.3
The findings likely come as a surprise to many people. For years, we were told to cut out red meat, butter, and eggs to avoid heart disease. And the new findings contradict previous studies which found that a meat-free diet leads to better heart health.
But many of those earlier studies had a fatal flaw. They didn’t correct their data for gender and age. Vegetarians are often young women. And this group, whether they eat meat or not, has a lower heart disease risk than the general population.
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The ones who went into the program with elevated blood pressure were coming out a few weeks later with normal, healthy readings. They hadn’t taken any medications. Their diets hadn’t changed. They hadn’t made any changes to their exercise regimens.
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The Rutgers researchers did factor in subjects’ sex and age. And when they did, the difference in heart risk between vegetarians and meat eaters “was not statistically significant,” said the study authors.4
The analysis did show that vegetarians were thinner on average than meat eaters. But their overall heart risk was not different.5
Debunking the Vegetarian Heart Health Myth
We’re not surprised in the least by the new findings.
We’ve long recommended the meat-rich Paleo-style diet for optimal overall health. It reduces blood sugar, lowers cancer risk, improves sleep, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. It also reduces the inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
Following this low-carb, high-protein eating plan is easy. We recently told readers about the five Paleo basics.
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In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch