Think the elimination of meat will automatically catapult your diet into the upper echelon of nutrition? A new study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that this is not necessarily the case.

Vegetarians who ate starchy foods like potatoes, sweets, and packaged foods had the same risk of cardiovascular problems as omnivores. 

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Meanwhile, vegetarians who ate whole grains, fruits, and veggies had a much lower risk of heart disease. 

The study notes that while it is true that the ideal diet for heart disease reduction is, in fact, plant-based, one must be vigilant as to what is incorporated into the diet. Simply cutting out meat is not the answer. After all, a meatless diet high in processed foods and refined grains actually increases one’s risk of heart disease.

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So all in all, if you’re looking for a heart-strengthening dietary improvement, focus on adding more fruits and vegetables to an already well-balanced diet, not necessarily making a wholesale change to vegetarianism. As it shows, a vegetarian diet devoid of proper nutrients leaves your heart worse off that a balanced, omnivorous nutrition plan.