How does eating a plant based diet over a traditional diet decrease your risk of heart disease and other health related risks?

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How does eating a plant based diet over a traditional diet decrease your risk of heart disease and other health related risks?

In: Biology
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Plant based fats typically contain less saturated fats, which can easily deposit in arteries and cause coronary artery disease

Meat has bad cholesterol and triglycerides. High levels of both causes plaque to build up in your arteries which restricts the arteries, causing the heart to have to work harder. Could also cause blockages which cause heart attacks and strokes and lots of other problems.

Not saying meat is super bad for you, it also has good things we need that plants dont have. That’s why humans are naturally omnivores.

Moderation is key.

It doesn’t.

The studies you’re likely referring to aren’t comparing similar groups. Rather, they’re comparing a group of people who pays close attention to their diet (vegans/vegetarians) to a group of people who frequently don’t pay much attention to their diet at all (‘traditional’ eaters). It should come as no shock that the people who down 5 cheeseburgers before finishing off an entire apple pie aren’t going to have particularly good health outcomes.

However, there’s an easy way to understand why vegan/vegetarian diets are across-the-board less healthy than traditional diets when you remove that bias: every vegan/vegetarian diet is also a traditional diet while the reverse is not true. That means the best outcome from a vegan/vegeterian diet cannot possibly better than the best outcome from a traditional diet.

In practice, vegan/vegetarian diets are fine for young adults. However, both young children and older adults tend to have a great deal of difficulty maintaining a healthy diet without the inclusion of meat and dairy.

Honestly, we don’t know and it might not be healthier at all. Dietary science gets reversed *a lot*, for a variety of reasons, both good and bad. This is why you hear so much conflicting information about dietary health; the quality of the studies are so low that they can’t produce consistent advice.

The biggest issue for vegan diets is that vegans care about their health, a lot. This means that they’re far more likely to work out, manage their stress, not smoke, and generally pay attention to their health. When you compare them against the general population, it’s very hard to tell which of these factors is causing what changes. Maybe it’s the food, or maybe it’s all the other health related behaviors that are completely unrelated to veganism. Teasing out the difference is very, very hard.

Secondarily, most food studies depend on self reporting. This is awful. To get an idea of how bad this is, please think about what you had for lunch last Tuesday. I’ll wait.

Finally, there’s a lot of corruption and ego in food science. Obviously there’s a lot of money to be made, but there has been some unbelievably baffling stuff over the years. The source of the cholesterol theory of heart disease comes from one flawed study that cherry picked convenient data, and whose author proceeded to bully everyone else into following along for almost 30 years. It’s entirely possible that that theory is just utterly wrong, and well eventually have to redo *everything* in that area.