Lower levels of several nutrients like essential vitamins were reported to be the cause of this link between high stroke risk and vegetarian diet. It's unclear exactly how it works.
During the 18 years of the study, almost 3,000 people developed heart disease and more than 1,000 suffered a stroke.
Visit INSIDER's homepage for more. Approximately 96% of people who began the study eating meat still did by the second dietary questionnaire, while 73% of vegetarians were still following a vegetarian or vegan diet. The remaining people were either vegetarians or vegans, who were grouped together for the purposes of the study.
While the pescatarians and the vegetarians and vegans both had lower risks of CHD than the meat-eaters, those on plant-based diets had a 20% higher risk of stroke. About 500 of the strokes were caused by blood clots in the brain (ischemic stroke) and 300 resulted from bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).
This was equivalent to 10 fewer cases of ischaemic heart disease in vegetarians and vegans than in meat eaters per 1,000 people over 10 years. More research is needed to understand just what kind of diet is best for protecting your health.
But Tong's isn't the first study to find an uptick in stroke rates among vegetarians and vegans.
However, the data also indicated there would be three more cases of stroke.
"Relevance to vegetarians worldwide must also be considered", he writes.
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The researchers said: "We observed lower rates of ischaemic heart disease in fish eaters and vegetarians than in meat eaters, which appears to be at least partly due to lower body mass index and lower rates of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes associated with these diets".
The researchers said the increased risk of stroke could be down to lower levels of vitamins among the vegetarians and vegans in the study and called for further investigations.
In addition to low cholesterol levels, vegetarians and vegans also had lower levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and amino acids than meat eaters, which may be related to their higher stroke risk.
A study from the University of Oxford found that people who follow the diets have a 22% lower risk of heart disease than meat eaters, while those who eat fish but no meat (pescatarian diet) have a 13% reduced risk.
Health officials say that the key to a healthy diet is a mix of vegetables and legumes, fruits, whole grains, dairy and meat - preferably of the lean variety.
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Researchers calculated what would happen if the entire USA stopped eating meat.