Many believed that simply avoiding meat would constitute a healthy diet. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public health suggests otherwise. Plant-based diet must be of “high quality”, in order to reduce coronary heart disease risk.
The study followed more than 200,000 adults for two decades.
- A plant-based diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes was associated with a substantially lower coronary heart disease risk.
- A plant-based diet rich in refined grains, fruit juice, potatoes, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with a substantially higher coronary heart disease risk.
Sticking to a healthy diet can sometimes be quite difficult. However, this study further adds to our knowledge of what is healthier and what is less healthy.
For those who consume a large amount of “unhealthful” plant-based foods, this study is a reminder that vegetarian foods may not always be healthy.
For those who want to improve their diets but cannot adopt a vegetarian diet, the good news is that one could probably concentrate on replacing a couple of servings of unhealthy animal foods by a couple of servings of healthy plant-based foods, and still benefit. Nothing too extreme.
Satija A, et al. Healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets and the risk of coronary artery disease in US adults. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017; 70:411-422.
Author: Andrew To