Alarmist headlines, not veganism, can be hazardous to your health

Illustration for article titled Alarmist headlines, not veganism, can be hazardous to your health
Photo: marilyna (iStock)

Have you been moving towards a more meat-free diet to lower your risk of heart disease? According to today’s headlines, you’re still screwed. You may not die from a heart attack or ischemia, but the cold, icy hand of death is still coming for you via an increased risk of stroke. Or is it?!?!


Of course it isn’t. How do I know? I know because I actually read the damn articles. I even took a quick looksie at the British Medical Journal report that’s been spawning all those crazy articles with hyperbolic headlines. It’s amazing how much the ability to read and a basic proficiency in math can help you with understanding things.

In a research study conducted at the University of Oxford, 48,188 people with varying diets and no existing history of heart disease were monitored for 18 years, more than enough time for their arteries to harden and for their bodies to slowly deteriorate in a myriad of fun and exciting ways. Out of that enormous group of test subjects, approximately 2,800 developed heart disease and 1,100 had strokes. In a sample size of 1,000 people, those who followed vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets had ten fewer cases of heart disease than omnivores, but just three more cases of stroke.

So if you’re following a plant-based diet to reduce your health risks, you can sleep easy. Just remember not to get yourself all worked up over scary headlines, because unnecessary stress can be a pretty terrible thing for your heart.

Allison Robicelli is a writer, recipe czar, former professional chef, author of four (quite good) books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Tweet me for recipe help: @Robicellis.


Tebow Kneeled First

Most studies out there come to the conclusion that statistically vegans and vegetarians are much healthier. This does not mean that a vegan or vegetarian diet is necessarily healthy. So if you are trying not to die you are better off trying to go plant-based. But, you know, whatever, go risk getting into a riot over a Popeye's sandwich if that suits you.