(TIME) — A new study suggests vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk of stroke. But don't reach for that steak just yet.
A new study says vegetarians have a higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters, but the results aren't as bad as they sound.
The paper, published in the BMJ, found only a small increase in the risk of stroke, while confirming findings in other studies that vegetarians and vegans may have a lower risk of heart disease than meat-eaters.
“It’s important to emphasize that we’ve looked at two outcomes here,” says study co-author Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist in the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health. “The lower risk of heart disease does seem to outweigh the higher risk of stroke.”
Over the nearly two decades of follow-up, about 2,800 people developed heart disease and about 1,100 had a stroke. Approximately 96% of people who began the study eating meat still did by the second dietary questionnaire, while 73% of vegetarians were still following a vegetarian or vegan diet.