Meat eaters might have higher RISK of developing cataracts

Created on: Friday, June 07, 2013

Source Web MD - June 2011

People who eat meat may be at increased risk of developing cataracts compared to vegetarians, a new study shows. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England say vegetarians and vegans are 30% to 40% less likely to develop cataracts than people who eat a lot of meat.

Researchers studied data on 27,670 people participating in the European Prospective Investigation in Cancer and Nutrition study. The participants in the study, all older than 40, were asked to fill out dietary surveys between 1993 and 1999. They were checked on between 2008 and 2009 to see if they had developed cataracts; about 1,500 had developed cataracts.

The participants were divided into groups according to the amount of meat they ate:

  • Highest meat consumption: 3.5 ounces or more a day.
  • Mid-range meat consumption: 1.7 to 3.4 ounces a day.
  • Low-meat consumption: less than 1.7 ounces a day.
  • Fish eaters: Those who ate fish but not meat.
  • Vegetarians: Those who did not eat meat or fish but did eat dairy products and/or eggs.
  • Vegans: Those who did not eat meat, fish, dairy products, or eggs.

Compared with those who ate the most meat, the risks for developing cataracts were lower for all other groups. Mid-range meat eaters had a decreased cataract risk of 4%, low-meat eaters 15%, fish eaters 21%, vegetarians 30%, and vegans 40%.

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