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Fish-eaters also had a 21 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, after adjusting for factors such as BMI, lifestyle and underlying health conditions. The University of Glasgow study, which looked at the diets of more than 420,000 people over eight years, found vegetarians were also less prone to heart problems.
But they ate more unhealthy foods such as crisps and pizza.
The study used data from the UK Biobank to study the health of vegetarians, fish, poultry and meat-eaters.
Meat-eaters, who accounted for 94.7 percent of people studied, were more likely to be obese and also consumed the least fibre, fruit and vegetables and healthy fats such as those found in oily fish.
Victoria Taylor, a senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said the findings backed up previous evidence.
But she added: “Cutting out meat isn’t a quick fix to achieving a healthy diet, which should be balanced regardless of whether we eat meat, fish or are vegetarian.
“A whole diet approach, such as the Mediterranean diet, is needed to help lower your risk.”
The findings were published in the European Heart Journal.
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