Eating Lots Of Fruits And Vegetables Doesn’t Erase Health Risks From Eating Meat, Study Finds

The increased health risks from eating meat were not counterbalanced by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Photo: Stuck On Sweet

High Red Meat Intake And All-Cause Cardiovascular And Cancer Mortality: Is The Risk Modified By Fruit And Vegetable Intake?, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Online 24 August 2016

The answer to the question in their title is “no.”

Background: High red meat consumption is associated with a shorter survival and higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and all-cause mortality. Fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption is associated with a longer survival and lower mortality risk. Whether high FV consumption can counterbalance the negative impact of high red meat consumption is unknown.

Objective: We evaluated 2 large prospective cohorts of Swedish men and women (the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men) to determine whether the association between red meat consumption and the risk of all-cause, CVD, and cancer-specific mortality differs across amounts of FV intake.

Conclusion: High intakes of red meat were associated with a higher risk of all-cause and CVD mortality. The increased risks were consistently observed in participants with low, medium, and high FV consumption.

Another big, prospective study (2 large Swedish cohorts, 74,645 men and women). Those who consumed the most meat had a 29% higher risk of CVD death compared to those who ate the least. It didn’t matter how many fruits and vegetables they ate.

2 thoughts on “Eating Lots Of Fruits And Vegetables Doesn’t Erase Health Risks From Eating Meat, Study Finds

  1. Robert

    Bix, what is a summary of your dietary recommendations? What do think about added high fat foods like nuts/nut butters, peanut butter and avocados in a plant based diet? What about adding olive oil to dressings or stir fries? Any foods you make sure you eat regularly or template that you follow? Lastly, what do you think about tasty processed vegan foods – Beyond Meat or Gardein products for example?

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      Bix, what is a summary of your dietary recommendations?

      I think Dr. McDougall’s version of a plant-based diet is the best one out there. If you read nothing else, read this link:
      What To Eat On A Plant-Based Diet (McDougall Starch Version)

      So: all grains, beans, vegetables, fruit (some exceptions). No animal foods, no oil.

      What do think about added high fat foods like nuts/nut butters, peanut butter and avocados in a plant based diet?

      Nuts: Fine if whole. No more than a small handful a day. (I disagree with McDougall here.)
      Nut butters and avocados: Fine if you’re not overweight or don’t have a disease like diabetes, heart disease. In moderation: something like 2 tablespoons/day. At least once in your life, spoon out a tablespoon of peanut butter, scrape it level with a knife, put it on a plate, and sear that image into your brain. It’s not a lot.

      What about adding olive oil to dressings or stir fries?

      No. Do try to eat less and less until one day you eat no more. Use vinegar, broth, spices, fat-free condiments. Your body will not miss it. I promise.

      Any foods you make sure you eat regularly or template that you follow?

      Not really. Lots of leeway in this diet. Two basic tenets: No animal foods and no added oil. I used to be more fussy about the foods being whole but it’s not that important. I eat oatmeal, pasta w/fat-free tomato sauce, whole grain breads w/thin spread of peanut butter, tortillas, big bowls of lentil/bean soup, rice with vegetables (I buy bags of plain frozen veg), sweet potatoes (cook ahead and carry with me), mashed or roasted no-oil potatoes, winter squashes. For condiments I use mustard, salsa, tamari. Lots of spices. I do eat toasted sesame seeds (gomasio), whole pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts every day – but not more than a handful of all of them put together. I have small hands. Some frozen berries either on oatmeal or blended w/banana. Black coffee (McDougall is not a fan) and all types of tea. No alcohol. Vitamin B12, a cheap methyl form (drops).

      Lastly, what do you think about tasty processed vegan foods – Beyond Meat or Gardein products for example?

      No. Very processed. Contain isolates, oil, chemicals, too much protein. I could go on at length. Find some grain, bean, potato dishes you like and eat them first so you’re not hungry for these. Don’t even use them as a bridge to vegan because you’ll never change your taste buds.

      Reply

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