A new study published in BMJ suggests that individuals following pescatarian and vegetarian diets could have a lower risk for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) than meat eaters. However, vegetarians are more likely to have higher risks for haemorrhagic and total stroke.
Researchers examined the risks for ischaemic heart disease and stroke in a cohort of fish eaters, meat eaters and vegetarians using the EPIC-Oxford study.
Fish eaters and vegetarians had 13 per cent and 22 per cent lower rates of IHD, respectively, compared with meat eaters (Pheterogeneity<.001 after adjusting for socio-demographic and lifestyle confounders. these associations were marginally attenuated risk factors including high blood cholesterol pressure diabetes body mass index.>
Vegetarians had 20 per cent higher rates of total stroke than meat eaters, with haemorrhagic stroke primarily contributing to it. The associations for stroke were not attenuated further after adjusting for disease risk factors.
The authors commented: "Future work should include further measurements of circulating levels of cholesterol subfractions, vitamin B12, amino acids, and fatty acids in the cohort to identify which factors might mediate the observed associations."