Meat-free dinners have long-term health benefits, new study reveals

According to a study of nearly 28,000 people’s dinner habits, having a meat-free dish for your last meal of the day can have long-term benefits on your health.

Carried out between 2006 and 2013, this study indicated that overconsumption of low-quality carbohydrates and animal meat at dinner was significantly associated with high cardiovascular disease (CVD). Whilst unsaturated fatty acid consumption at dinner related to lower CVD risk among adults.

This study reveals that it is not just about what you eat, but also when you eat it. Researchers from Harbin Medical University in China concluded that the substitution of low-quality carbohydrates and animal protein at dinner with high-quality carbs and plant protein cut the risk of CVD by around 10 per cent.

Unsaturated fatty acids versus saturated fatty acids:

Researchers studied a range of macronutrients such as fats, carbs and proteins that are consumed at breakfast and dinner, and the related CVD risk it may have.

Unsaturated fatty acids are regarded as healthier by dietitians. These are typically found in olive, peanut oils, avocados and many nuts and seeds. Results have suggested that those who consumed more of these in their diets, were also linked to lower stroke risk.

In contrast, saturated fatty acids are found in fatty meats, dairy products, and palm oil. The results suggested that those who consumed these, faced a high risk of a heart attack and a type of chest pain called angina. As well as this, those who ate animal protein saw an increase to their risk of coronary heart disease.

This new research suggests that substituting plant-based foods for meat can lower the risk of heart disease and associated mortality, among other health benefits.

It is always recommended to eat a healthy diet, especially for those who are at higher risk of heart disease. However, eating meat and refined carbs for breakfast instead of dinner is associated with lowering your risk and meal-timing is an important factor to consider when looking for other ways to lower your risk.

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We are dedicated to maintaining independence, dignity and respect for all those who we have the privilege to support.

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