We’re constantly being told that ‘eating clean’ is best, and the more vegetables, the better. But a new study is about to confuse things entirely, because apparently, being a vegetarian is actually bad for you… WE KNOW.
According to a new study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, vegetarianism can actually change your DNA, leading to increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
If you’re feeling confused right about now, we’re with you – wasn’t red meat supposed to be the bad guy? But hear the scientists out.
The study found that long term vegetarians were more susceptible to inflammation due to a particular genetic mutation that occured because of their diet.
Apparently, the mutation happened to make it easier for the vegetarians to absorb essential fatty acids from plants. Unfortunately, this led to increased production of arachidonic acid, which is linked with inflammations and cancer.
And a lot of it is to do with what our ancestors ate.
‘Those whose ancestry derives from vegetarians are more likely to carry genetics that more rapidly metabolise plant fatty acids’, Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition at Cornell, said.
‘In such individuals, vegetable oils will be converted to the more pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid, increasing the risk for chronic inflammation that is implicated in the development of heart disease, and exacerbates cancer.
‘The mutation appeared in the human genome long ago, and has been passed down through the human family.’
Even worse, this mutation also means it’s harder for the bost to produce Omega 3, which protects you against heart disease. Gulp.
This helps to explain why vegetarians are nearly 40% more likely to suffer from bowel cancer than meat eaters – a stat which is also confusing doctors everywhere, since red meat is known to raise the same risk.
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Whilst this new study is pretty concerning, don’t go ditching your veggies just yet. With so many health scares and warnings over what we eat, just stick to healthy fats, plenty of fruits and vegetables and fresh meat, if you’re that way inclined.