A major review of existing research calculates that replacing animal-based foods with plant-based foods may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20% and cardiovascular disease by 25%.
Researchers in Germany have conducted a review of 37 published studies on the health benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. The study, published in BMC Medicine, found the greatest benefits when replacing red and processed meats with plant foods.
The research assessed the benefits of swapping meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy with plant-based foods, such as nuts, beans, oils, fruits and vegetables. The researchers observed reductions in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality.
From the review of evidence, researchers calculated that cardiovascular disease risk is lowered by up to 25% when 50g of processed meat a day is replaced with nuts and legumes and reduced by 17% when one egg a day is replaced with 25g of nuts. They also found up to 20% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes when 50g of processed meat a day was swapped with up to 28g of nuts, or an egg a day was replaced with 30g of whole grains or 10g of nuts.
Furthermore, the research suggests that switching 50g of processed meat a day for 28-50g of nuts is associated with a 21% reduction in risk of death from any cause. The researchers call for further research to strengthen these observations and examine other foods, such as dairy.
Published 16 Nov 2023
Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.
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