Not All Plant-Based Diets Are Healthy
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant-based foods are an essential part of a healthy diet, but a study spanning nearly three decades shows that some plant-based diets are healthier than others.
Researchers defined three versions of a plant-based diet—one focused on all plant-based foods and eating fewer animal products, a second on healthy plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), and a third on refined carbs, potatoes, and sugary drinks. Then they analyzed dietary information from more than 166,000 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study and the Nurses' Health Study II and more than 43,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
According to the researchers, people whose diets were closest to the general plant-based diet were 8 percent less likely to develop heart disease during the study period, and those whose diets were mainly plant-based were 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease. The third group—people whose diets contained more refined carbohydrates—had a 32 percent higher risk for heart disease.
While eating less meat can boost your health and lower your disease risk somewhat, this research suggests substituting refined carbohydrates and foods and beverages high in sugar can have the opposite effect.