Risk of developing cataracts was compared in meateaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans.
Images thanks to Rakesh Ahuja, MD and the U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons, and the National Eye Institute.
The leading cause of blindness and vision loss is cataracts, and cataract removal is one of the most common surgeries today. We know smoking can increase risk, and long-term radiation exposure can increase risk, but what about diet? Earlier this year researchers published a study of 27,670 people with a wide range of diets in order to compare the risk of cataracts for "high," "moderate," and "low" meat eaters, fish-only eaters, vegetarians, and vegans.
The researchers went out of their way to choose health-conscious subjects, so they could factor out smoking, exercise, and other non-diet variables. How much meat did the "high" meat eating group consume? 100 grams a day. That’s like 1 serving in one meal a day. In the U.S. we average about 330 grams a day, so this is like reverse Starbucks labeling. You know how their small is a "tall"? Well, here the study's "high" is really quite low by American standards, yet they still found a highly significant trend. Who do you think had the lowest risk of cataracts?
Compared to the modestly "high" meat group, the "moderate" meat eating cuts risk down 4%, and the "low" meat eating 15%. Eating only fish cuts your risk of cataracts down 21%. Eating only vegetarian food cuts it down 30% and eating completely vegan causes a full 40% drop in risk. Overall, compared with meat eaters who consumed 100 g meat and meat products, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans had approximately 20%, 30%, and 40% lower risk of cataracts, respectively.
It’s like with the diabetes; there appears to be a stepwise reduction as we eat fewer and fewer animal products.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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The concentration of advanced glycation end-products in animal-based foods may help explain this finding; see my video Glycotoxins. In Prevent Glaucoma and See 27 Miles Farther I covered the second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma, and the day before that I covered two other leading causes of vision loss in Preventing Macular Degeneration with Diet, where I also touch on diabetic retinopathy. I have 105 other videos on plant-based diets and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects—I hope you'll check them out