People who eat a plant-based diet achieve certain health benefits, such as an increased life expectancy and a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

However, they need to make sure they are eating healthy foods and not processed carbs and salty or sugary foods because doing so may reverse the benefits of a vegan diet.

A new study has found that junk foods could negate the benefits of a plant-based diet.

The study reported that the vegans who ate foods such as sweetened beverages, refined grains, sweets, juices, and potatoes did not have a reduced risk of heart disease than those who ate animal-based products.

Researchers Harokopio University of Athens, Greece, found that vegans who strictly ate healthful foods enjoyed better heart health than those who ate dairy and meat products.

Lead study author Dr. Demosthenes Panagiotakos said, “Based on these results, it seems that simply following a plant-based or vegetarian diet is not enough to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.”

“It is also important to focus on specific, healthful plant-based food groups to see a benefit in terms of reducing cardiovascular disease,” he added.

The researchers looked at the dietary habits of over 2,000 Greeks and their overall health for a period of 10 years. They then analyzed the association between the participants’ diet and the development of heart disease.

It was found that men who ate fewer animal-based products were nearly 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who ate meat and cheese. In women, it was 11 percent.

However, those benefits were observed only in people who focused on eating healthful foods. In addition, women who were on a vegan diet and ate a few unhealthy foods had an increased risk of heart disease. So, the bottom line is vegans should stick to their healthful diet and avoid junk foods.