Health effects associated with vegetable consumption: a Burden of Proof study

Published October 10, 2022, in Nature Medicine (opens in a new window)


Previous research suggests a protective effect of vegetable consumption against chronic disease, but the quality of evidence underlying those findings remains uncertain. We applied a Bayesian meta-regression tool to estimate the mean risk function and quantify the quality of evidence for associations between vegetable consumption and ischemic heart disease (IHD), ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, type 2 diabetes and esophageal cancer. Increasing from no vegetable consumption to the theoretical minimum risk exposure level (306–372 g daily) was associated with a 23.2% decline (95% uncertainty interval, including between-study heterogeneity: 16.4–29.4) in ischemic stroke risk; a 22.9% (13.6–31.3) decline in IHD risk; a 15.9% (1.7–28.1) decline in hemorrhagic stroke risk; a 28.5% (−0.02–51.4) decline in esophageal cancer risk; and a 26.1% (−3.6–48.3) decline in type 2 diabetes risk. We found statistically significant protective effects of vegetable consumption for ischemic stroke (three stars), IHD (two stars), hemorrhagic stroke (two stars) and esophageal cancer (two stars). Including between-study heterogeneity, we did not detect a significant association with type 2 diabetes, corresponding to a one-star rating. Although current evidence supports increased efforts and policies to promote vegetable consumption, remaining uncertainties suggest the need for continued research.

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Stanaway JD, Afshin A, Ashbaugh C. Health effects associated with vegetable consumption: a Burden of Proof study. Nature Medicine. 10 October 2022. doi: 10.1038/s41591-022-01970-5.


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