Being vegan could increase your cancer risk – if you’re not healthy about it, a study warns.
The academics found that women on an unhealthy plant-based diet were up to a fifth more likely to develop breast cancer, compared to those who ate healthier foods.
This included regular consumption of things such as crisps, soft drinks and white rice.
But those who stuck to a healthy vegan diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains and vegetable oils faced a 14% lower risk.
Experts said the results prove that not all plant-based diets are created equal when it comes to their health benefits.
The project followed 65,000 women in France for two decades and asked them to complete two dietary questionnaires during the research.
Eating a lot of sugar or simple carbs can cause blood sugar spikes, which have been linked to cancer.
And consuming too many listed unhealthy plant-based foods is a known cause of obesity, which can significantly increase the risk of other cancers.
Being vegan may increase your cancer risk – if you’re not healthy, study warns
Researchers from Université Paris-Saclay presented the findings in abstract form at the Nutrition 2022 Live Online conference. The full methodology has not yet been published.
They gave questionnaires to 65,574 postmenopausal women, who were on average in their 50s, and tracked their cancer diagnosis rates.
The diets were categorized into “healthy” and “unhealthy” plant-based diets, or healthy or unhealthy animal-based diets, based on their consumption of 18 food groups.
This was used to classify the volunteers into five different groups, based on their degree of fidelity to each eating pattern.
Sanam Shah, author of the study, said: “What is different about our study is that we were able to disentangle the effects of plant food quality, which has not been the focus of previous studies. on other diets.
“In scoring healthy, unhealthy and animal-based foods, we thoroughly analyzed dietary intake considering the ‘healthiness’ of food groups.”
Over the 21 years, 3,968 have been diagnosed with the disease.
The researchers compared the rates among those who followed the different diets to calculate their risk.
People who followed the healthier plant-based diet had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who followed the other route.
Meanwhile, the reverse was true for those following an unhealthy plant-based diet.
Mr Shad said: “These results highlight that increasing the consumption of healthy plant foods and decreasing the consumption of less healthy plant foods and animal foods could help prevent all types of breast cancer.”
He said plant-based diets didn’t necessarily mean vegetarian or vegan exactly, but put more emphasis on eating vegetables and other non-animal foods.
Vegan and vegetarian diets have already been linked to a lack of essential nutrients to keep people healthy.
What are the disadvantages of going vegan?
Switching to an all-plant-based diet could leave you feeling tired or cause acne breakouts, dietitians have warned.
Not eating or drinking animal products could cause you to lack essential vitamins like vitamin B12 as well as protein.
A lack of vitamin B12, which is found in found milk and eggs, can lead to tiredness or tiredness and negatively impact your mental health.
Vitamin D is another nutrient found primarily in animal products, such as fatty fish, which people on vegan diets may be deficient in.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to problems with bone development and cause pain.
Not consuming enough protein, which we get from dairy products, fish, eggs, and meat, can stunt children’s growth and also lead to acne breakouts.
A lack of iron, found in red meat and liver, can lead to anemia, causing a feeling of fatigue and heart palpitations.
Iodine, found primarily in seafood, is another nutrient known to be lacking in vegan diets and is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Plant-based diets can include all of these nutrients mentioned, but people need to carefully manage what they eat or take supplements to make sure they get enough.
This is especially true if people switch to a vegan diet after getting these nutrients primarily from animal products.
But another risk is the misperception that vegan products are inherently healthier than non-vegan options.
A MailOnline analysis of meatless vegan alternative foods found a significant number contained more salt, sugar and fat than the product they were meant to replace.