Swapping Animal Products for Plant-Based Alternatives Slashes Diabetes and Heart Disease Risks, Review Finds

Swapping Animal Products for Plant-Based Alternatives Slashes Diabetes and Heart Disease Risks, Review Finds

There are many benefits to replacing animal products with plant-based alternatives. Plant-based diets are more climate-friendly, have fewer ethical quandaries, and can help maintain health. A recent review published in BMC Medicine once again underscores the various ways that plant-based alternatives can help reduce adverse health outcomes. Researchers found that replacing meat and dairy products with plant-based foods can dramatically slash the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

For the review, the researchers examined the findings of 37 different studies. The Germanbased team wanted to discover whether there were health benefits from replacing animal products such as meat and dairy with plant foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, oils, fruits, and vegetables. By examining this question, the researchers hoped to uncover important information about how diet impacts health.

Their findings were extraordinary. The review revealed two important ways that replacing animal products with plant-based alternatives can drastically improve long-term health. The risk of developing both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes declined when these swaps were made. The most significant impacts were shown when red meat and processed meats were replaced by plant-based alternatives.

Replacing 50 grams of processed meat with a plant-based source of protein, such as nuts or legumes, cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by roughly 25 percent. Fifty grams of processed meat is loosely equal to one hot dog, or two slices of ham. The review also found that substituting one egg per day with 25 grams of nuts correlated to a 17 percent drop in risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes also declined when animal products were substituted for plant-based alternatives. Replacing 50 grams of processed meat with 28 grams of nuts daily reduced type 2 diabetes by about 20 percent. Similar results were seen when one egg per day was replaced by 30 grams of whole grains or 10 grams of nuts. 

Although the review did not specify the reasons why replacing certain animal products with plant-based alternatives reduced the risk of disease, it is likely due to the high levels of saturated fats, sodium, nitrates, and nitrites that are found in many animal-derived products. Although the researchers feel that more investigation is necessary, nutrition experts advise that reducing the consumption of red and processed meats in particular may have huge health benefits. 

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Swapping Animal Products for Plant-Based Alternatives Slashes Diabetes and Heart Disease Risks, Review Finds

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