OXFORD, U.K. - A new study suggests that vegans and vegetarians have a higher risk of stroke, but lower risk of heart disease.
The study, called “Risks of ischaemic heart disease and stroke in meat eaters, fish eaters, and vegetarians over 18 years of follow-up,” was published in the British Medical Journal Wednesday.
The EPIC-Oxford study looked at 48,188 participants over 18 years. The cohort in the U.K. included a large proportion of non-meat eaters who were recruited across the country between 1993 and 2001, the study said.
The participants were classified into three distinct diet groups: meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians (including vegans).
They were asked about their diets when the participants joined the study again in 2010, according to the BBC.
The study’s results showed that fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans had lower rates of heart disease than meat eaters. But vegetarians and vegans had higher rates of stroke.
The study found 2,820 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 1,072 cases of total stroke.
The fish eaters have a 13 percent lower risk of CHD than meat eaters, while vegetarians and vegans had a 22 percent lower risk, the study found. But vegetarians and vegans had 20 percent higher rates of stroke.
The reason for the results could be partly be attributed to lower concentrations of low density lipoprotein cholesterol associated with meat-free diets, the study said.
The study also said further Amy research is needed to replicate the results in other populations and “to identify mediators” that could contribute to the observed associations between the diets and health conditions.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.