An overall healthy diet is like a delicious recipe. Just as one wrong ingredient can turn a Michelin-starred meal into a culinary mess, one diet oversight can sabotage otherwise. healthy meal plan.
What constitutes a healthy diet in the first place? In general, adopt a Mediterranean approach Eating food that focuses on plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as minimal meat and processed foods, seems to be the way to go.
Ranked as the #1 Comprehensive Diet for 2022 by American Health Newsfollowing the general pillars of Mediterranean diet It will help you heartAnd the waistlineAnd the mind _ mind. Furthermore it, Recent Research Show that eating less meat and more nuts, vegetables, legumes, etc. (mainly a Mediterranean diet) can add up to 13 years to an individual’s life!
You may have noticed a recurring theme when it comes to healthy eating and that is cutting back on meat, especially red meat and processed meat. Many people looking to revamp their diet are taking things a step further and trying a vegetarian diet. while there Lots of good reasons To think about becoming a vegetarian, Research From the University of California, Davis, most people would consider following a vegan diet for their health.
Unfortunately, even a vegetarian diet is not foolproof. Open a new search published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition He discovered a specific type of food that has been shown to increase the risk of death even among vegetarians who follow a healthy diet.
Overprocessing is very lethal
This huge research project conducted at Loma Linda University (including more than 75,000 participants) showed that eating a lot of Ultra-processed foods It is associated with an increased risk of mortality.
Importantly, the research also notes that both vegetarians and non-vegetarians who eat large amounts of ultra-processed foods “experienced a similar proportional increase in mortality outcomes.” In other words, consistently eating ultra-processed foods may reduce the shelf life — even if you avoid eating meat.
The study authors say that increased consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with higher all-cause mortality, as well as deaths related to respiratory (COPD), neurological disease (dementia, Parkinson’s disease), and kidney disease.
Examples of Ultra-processed foods Include cornflakes, apple pie, and just about anything in the candy aisle, packaged bread, and cake.
Bad vegetarians and good non-vegetarians
In other words, ultra-processed foods are common denominator of mortality Among both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. With this in mind, the researchers postulate that their work shows that it’s entirely possible to be a “bad vegetarian or a good non-vegetarian.”
Socially, we tend to see all vegetarians as healthy eaters, but these findings suggest that nutrition isn’t that simple.
“Our study addresses the question of what might make a vegetarian diet healthy or unhealthy,” says the study author. Gary FraserMBChB, PhD, Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and School of Public Health, in University release. “It appears that the proportion of ultra-processed foods in a person’s diet is actually more important in terms of mortality than the proportion of animal-derived foods that they eat, with the exception of red meat.”
From the start, researchers set out to examine does not depend on Mortality effect of two dietary factors: the proportion of an individual’s diet consisting of ultra-processed foods compared to less processed foods and the proportion of a diet consisting of animal foods (meat, eggs, and dairy) compared to vegetarian foods.
This unique approach allowed the research team to examine the mortality implications of each food ingredient (ultra-processed foods and meat) in a vacuum.
As previously touched upon, 77,437 participants (both male and female) took part in this study. Recruited from Seventh-day Adventist churches, each subject fills a Frequency of the food questionnaire It contains more than 200 nutrients. The surveys gave the researchers an idea of each person’s daily diet.
Each participant also provided additional health and demographic information about themselves, such as education level achieved, tobacco habits, gender, race, marital status, exercise habits, and body mass index.
Then, for the median time frame of seven and a half years, study authors analyzed the medical and demographic data provided for each subject in conjunction with their own mortality data (provided via the National Mortality Index). A statistical model was then used to assess each variable independently, which ultimately led to a cause-specific mortality analysis.
When the researchers adjusted their statistical model to focus solely on eating ultra-processed foods regardless of meat eating habits or age, they discovered that people who got nearly half of their total calories from ultra-processed foods experienced a 14% increase in mortality compared to the others. They only get about 12.5% of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods.
Avoid red meat too
What did the researchers notice about meat and mortality? Somewhat surprisingly, no association was found between mortality and dietary intake of total animal foods.
However, when the team at LLU separated animal foods and meats into specific categories, one offender became clear: red meat.
A statistically significant 8% jump in mortality risk was associated with a moderate intake (about 1.5 ounces per day) of red meat compared to no red meat at all.
Nobody says eating clean all the time is easy. Every now and then, we all need a cheat meal or Unhealthy snack. You don’t have to strictly avoid highly processed foods and red meat all the time, but don’t get in the habit of eating these foods every day.
“If you are interested in living longer or to your fullest potential, it is wise to avoid a diet full of ultra-processed foods and replace them with less processed or unprocessed foods,” concludes Professor Fraser. “At the same time, avoid eating too much red meat. It’s that simple.”