I found the Ig Nobel award for 2022 - vegetable intake not found to reduce CVD risk - wait for it...
Results: The mean age was 56 years and 55% were women.
»» Mean intakes of raw and cooked vegetables were 2.3 and 2.8 tablespoons/day, respectively. «« [Emphasis added by me.]
During 12 years of follow-up, 18,052 major CVD events and 4,406 CVD deaths occurred. Raw vegetable intake was inversely associated with both CVD incidence (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) [95% CI] for the highest vs. lowest intake: 0.89 [0.83–0.95]) and CVD mortality (0.85 [0.74–0.97]), while cooked vegetable intake was not (1.00 [0.91–1.09] and 0.96 [0.80–1.13], respectively). Adjustment for potential confounders reduced the LR statistics for the associations of raw vegetables with CVD incidence and mortality by 82 and 87%, respectively.
Conclusions: Higher intakes of raw, but not cooked, vegetables were associated with lower CVD risk. Residual confounding is likely to account for much, if not all, of the observed associations. This study suggests the need to reappraise the evidence on the burden of CVD disease attributable to low vegetable intake in the high-income populations. (Feng, Q., et al, 2022)
Astonishingly, before some additional mathing of the numbers, even an average of 2.3 Tablespoons of raw vegetables per day did seem to reduce risk of mortality from CVD - JUST THINK what the recommended by the anti-cancer folks, 5-9 servings of produce per day, might do for CVD risk. A serving of vegetables is about a half cup cooked, one cup of raw fluffy lettuce, 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 6 ounces of juice (3/4 cup) or a half to one cup raw fruit depending on water content - half a banana, large apple or orange, one kiwi, 2 small apricots or clementine tangerines, one cup of watermelon or cantaloupe.
I do recommend limiting fruit to 2 servings per day rather than thinking “5-9” produce servings means a leaf of lettuce and a8 and half servings of juice - or 4 servings of veg and 5 of fruit. Only the liver can use fruit sugar and high fructose corn syrup has caused an epidemic increase in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in teens and young adults - it is supposed to be an old person condition. Within 15 years of diagnosis a liver transplant is usually needed but this new epidemic has been progressing to worse damage more rapidly so I am saying there is an epidemic increase in young people who may need a liver transplant within a decade.
Eleven people are authors on that large N=group, food questionnaire-based study and it was being highlighted in “Top Ten (most viewed) Articles of 2022” type of article by the Frontiers publisher - they have a lot of specific theme Journals within their Frontiers group. It is a controversial conclusion, which would get views - however, the authors are confidently concluding that the history of vegetables being found to be beneficial against cardiovascular disease needs to be reassessed, and possibly discarded, based on their food questionnaire-based finding that a large group of people self-reported that they eat only less than one cup of vegetables per day. Two tablespoons is only an 1/8th cup. “Mean intakes of raw and cooked vegetables were 2.3 and 2.8 tablespoons/day, respectively” (Feng, Q., et al., 2022)
Feng, Q., et al, could have concluded that their study population was not evening getting the minimal recommended amount of vegetables per day and that that low of an intake of vegetables was associated with CVD risk. — And that the raw veggie data seemed more positively linked than the cooked veg (which makes sense as raw veg have more nutrients, is better for the microbiome, and leaves active enzymes within the veggies instead of denaturing them with heat). Or they may have mentioned that food frequency surveys are highly inaccurate and generally are underestimated because who really remembers everything they eat? Or it might be inaccurate because people might pad their answers to “seem” healthier and claim to be eating more of whatever it is they believe to be considered healthier choices than what they actually eat. Seriously, this study is disinformation - and gets a nomination by me:
I mince an 1/8th cup of cilantro to simply top my generous lettuce and chopped veggies salad ~ 2 cups in all ~ 3+ veggie serving equivalents. And I eat veggies in soup or in my rice pea-laf or as raw veggie sticks with humus or refried beans (no more corn chips for me - corn effects our tight junctions between intestinal cells and increases risk of leaky bowels and possibly a leakier blood brain barrier too. I also add a lot of herbs and spices to my food as they are concentrated - low calories for a lot of extra benefits. I typically only eat a couple fruit servings per day and not much juice - 2 ounces added to a 12 ounce water-based drink for added flavor and sweetness.
The study is not really a candidate for the Ig Nobel Prize - it is usually given to studies that seem kind of frivilous in the total design - Why? Why would anyone study that topic?
The role of vegetables in protecting against cardiovascular disease is not frivolous, instead this study is simply coming to a bad conclusion. “Vegetable intake of less than a cup of day was not found beneficial for protecting against cardiovascular risk, although raw vegetables had a slightly more protective effect than cooked vegetables, even at vey low levels of intake,” would have been a better concluding statement.
The article by (Feng, Q., et al., 2022) has already been cited by ten other articles - disinformation spreads. The medical community does not understand nutrition or how to study its effects.
More control is needed over the data - feed the participants and record actual intakes, or have them record food journals in live-time, as they are eating daily. Otherwise, a longterm study using food frequency questionnaires needs to recognize that it is observational and based on self-reported data which is generally not accurate. Therefore, any conclusions are only observations. The study authors have no idea how accurate their findings were: “Mean [self-reported] intakes of raw and cooked vegetables were 2.3 and 2.8 tablespoons/day, respectively” (Feng, Q., et al., 2022)
Clearly if anything can be concluded from that - it is that having a low average intake of vegetables was not very protective against CVD, but raw veggies helped more than cooked ones. *This also could indicate that a raw veggie salad is more beneficial against CVD than white potatoes or tomato sauce as those are two very commonly used hot vegetables; rather than concluding that something like cooked broccoli is not beneficial against CVD. With a survey-based study - we have no real idea what the individuals may have meant, depending on how detailed the food survey was in its questions or ability to add extra details about food type or portion size.
This may seem mean, but it is a big deal in the nutrition and heart disease fields and adds to the medical gaslighting. If a clinical nutritionist can’t speak up about badly written studies about nutrition, then who can? Bill Gates? The W.H.O.? They may appreciate the bad press against vegetables.
How many papers are going to now proclaim that “vegetables in the diet don’t protect against CVD”? The study by Feng, Q., et al., 2022, is disinformation and I would recommend it be retracted.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
(Feng, Q., et al., 2022) Feng Q, Kim JH, Omiyale W, Bešević J, Conroy M, May M, Yang Z, Wong SY, Tsoi KK, Allen N, Lacey B. Raw and Cooked Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Study of 400,000 Adults in UK Biobank. Front Nutr. 2022 Feb 21;9:831470. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.831470. PMID: 35265657; PMCID: PMC8901125. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.831470/full
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