VEGETARIAN DIET INCREASES THE RISK OF CANCER AND HEART ATTACK; AND REDUCES FERTILITY
A recent study done at Cornell University in US has shown a higher risk of cancer and heart attacks in people eating pure vegetarian food for generations. Scientists have found that long-term vegetarianism can lead to genetic mutations, which increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Traditionally, red meat is known to increase the risk of colorectal (intestine) cancer, however, a recent research found the reverse, a 40% higher cancer risk among vegetarians!
This study compared two sets of people- meat eating people from Kansas (USA) and vegetarian people from Pune (India).
Long term vegetarian people were found to have genetic mutation that resulted in rapid metabolism of plant fatty acids, leading to increased amounts of arachidonic acid (which increases inflammation) and reduced production of protective omega 3 fatty acid. A shift of diet from fish (rich in healthy omega 3 fats) to vegetable oils (rich in less healthy omega 6 fats) has compounded the problem.
This study has clearly shown the higher risks of heart disease and cancer in pure vegetarian people. The message to vegetarians is clear- either eat fish or use olive oil (low in omega 6) if you cannot eat fish.
Previous studies have shown other problems with vegetarian diet:
1. Low sperm count leading to reduced fertility,
2. Low fertility could also be related to intake of pesticides (used in fruits and vegetables),
3. Vegetarians are also more prone to deficiencies of iron and vitamin B12.
4. One study found lower bone mineral density in vegetarians.
Finally, there is some good news for vegetarians. All is not gloomy. Research has also shown lower risk of diabetes, stroke and obesity among vegetarians as compared to non-vegetarians.
DR SUDHIR KUMAR MD DM
Senior Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
The article details can be found in The Telegraph:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/29/long-term-vegetarian-diet-changes-human-dna-raising-risk-of-canc/