There is a link between plant-based ultraprocessed foods and heart disease

The New York Times

“We can’t always assume plant-based means healthy, as after all sugar is plant-based,” Mellor said in a statement.
Ultraprocessed foods undergo multiple industrial processes, such as heating, fracking of nutrients and proteins, molding and compression, and have added chemicals to cosmetically alter color, smell, taste and texture.
That information was later linked to hospital and mortality records on the development of cardiovascular risk factors.
Ultraprocessed foods made from plants increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5% while increasing the risk of early death by 13%, the study found.
Researchers also found that each 10% replacement of plant-based ultraprocessed foods with fresh, frozen or minimally processed plants lowered the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 7% while offering a 13% reduction in the risk of dying from heart disease.
The study also looked at plant-based meat products, such as sausages, nuggets and burgers, which by their very nature fall into the ultraprocessed bucket.
“Plant-based meat alternatives make up only 0.5% of all the plant-based ultraprocessed foods included in this paper,” Scarborough said in a statement.
Over half of the plant-based ultraprocessed foods studied in the paper were packaged breads, pastries, buns, cakes and cookies.


Eat a plant-based diet, according to experts, if you want to lower your risk of developing chronic disease, live longer, and protect the environment.

Is it permissible to pile your plate high with frozen veggie pizza, boxed macaroni and cheese, or quick-service French fries, and then indulge in a few doughnuts for dessert?

According to Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, United Kingdom, all of those ultraprocessed options may be meat-free, but they are not without risk.

Mellor said in a statement, “We can’t always assume plant-based means healthy, as sugar is plant-based.”. “Although many plant-based foods, such as biscuits, crisps, candy, and soft drinks, are free of animal products, most people wouldn’t view them as necessary components of a balanced diet. “.

A new study, dubbed “the first” to show ultraprocessed plant foods are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, actually shows that eating such plant-based junk food increases bad cholesterol and hypertension dramatically, which can lead to associated heart disease and early death.

“Eating plant-based products can be beneficial, acting as protection against health problems, or it can represent a risk — it all depends on the level of processing of these foods,” said senior study author Renata Levy, a researcher in the Epidemiological Research Center in Nutrition and Health at the University of São Paulo, known as Nupens/USP, in Brazil.

Foods that have been ultraprocessed go through a number of industrial procedures, including heating, fracking to extract nutrients and proteins, molding, compression, and the addition of chemicals to change the appearance, flavor, and texture. These foods are designed to be exceedingly convenient and highly palatable to human taste buds, requiring minimal or no preparation time.

Fresh produce, eggs, and milk are examples of unprocessed foods. Foods like canned goods and frozen vegetables that blend culinary ingredients with unprocessed foods are examples of minimally processed foods, as are culinary ingredients like salt, herbs, and oils.

First author Fernanda Rauber, a researcher with Nupens/USP, stated that “food additives and industrial contaminants present in these foods might cause oxidative stress and inflammation, further aggravating the risks.”.

In light of this, Rauber said in a statement, “Our results support the shift towards plant-based food choices that consider the degree of processing to improve cardiovascular health outcomes.”.

Consume fresh or frozen vegetables with little processing.

A longitudinal study involving participants from England, Scotland, and Wales, UK Biobank provided the data used in this study, which was published on Monday in the journal The Lancet Regional Health — Europe. Over 118,000 respondents, who were between the ages of 40 and 69, provided information about their diet. These data were later connected to mortality and hospital records regarding the emergence of cardiovascular risk factors.

The study discovered that ultraprocessed plant-based foods raised the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5% and the risk of dying young by 13%.

Additionally, the risk of dying from heart disease was found to be reduced by 13 percent for every 10 percent substitution of fresh, frozen, or minimally processed plants for ultraprocessed plant-based foods. This substitution also reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 7 percent.

Additionally, since plant-based meat products like sausages, nuggets, and burgers naturally fall into the ultraprocessed category, the study also examined these products. According to Peter Scarborough, a population health professor at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, it was challenging to pinpoint the precise level of risk associated with those foods. He didn’t participate in the research.

“Just 0.5 percent of all the plant-based ultraprocessed foods included in this paper are plant-based meat alternatives,” Scarborough stated in a statement.

Buns, cakes, cookies, and packaged breads and pastries accounted for more than half of the plant-based ultraprocessed foods examined in the study.

Scarborough continued, “It is therefore very difficult to conclude from this paper that plant-based meat alternatives are bad for your health.”.

Furthermore, a significant portion of the information presented in the paper is well-known, according to Tom Sanders, an emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London who was not involved in the research.

As plant-based diets like the DASH or Mediterranean already stress avoiding processed foods, it is widely acknowledged that well-balanced diets, like these, are beneficial for cardiovascular health. , sugar-sweetened drinks, pastries, cakes, and candies,” he stated in a release.

“These latter foods, whether manufactured commercially or at home, are unhealthy. “.

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