Eating animal products increases the risk of cataracts, according to a new study published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Based on findings from 27,670 participants in the European Prospective Investigation in Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford) study, meat intake was positively associated with risk of cataracts. The participants were divided into six diet groups: highest meat consumption, mid-range meat consumption, least meat consumption, fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Compared with those who ate the most meat, the risks for developing cataracts after adjusting for multiple confounders including age and smoking were as follows: mid-range meat consumption participants decreased their cataract risk by 4 percent, least meat consumption group by 15 percent, fish-eaters by 21 percent, vegetarians by 30 percent, and those who followed a vegan diet by 40 percent.
Appleby PN, Allen NK, Key TJ. Diet, vegetarianism, and cataract risk. Am J Clin Nutr. Published ahead of print March 23, 2011. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004028.