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Publication date: 
October 10, 2022


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.


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.