Vegan diet reduces heart disease risk after two months: Study
Experts suggest that the study’s findings underscore the benefits of transitioning toward a more plant-based diet for improved health outcomes
Based on the results of the study and considering longevity, most individuals would benefit from transitioning to a more plant-based diet – Representative Image: Photo Credit: Flickr.com
Adopting a vegan diet for two months can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, a trial conducted by Stanford University, California, has shown.
The study engaged 22 pairs of identical twins, with one twin from each pair adhering to a vegan diet while the other continued an omnivorous diet.
Notably, the vegan group experienced considerable improvements in cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and weight loss, The Times reported.
Experts suggest that these findings underscore the benefits of transitioning toward a more plant-based diet for improved health outcomes.
Both sets of participants received meal deliveries and received guidance on preparing healthy, minimally processed meals.
Following the trial, all participants underwent tests to assess key indicators of heart health, including cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
The group adhering to a vegan diet experienced a notable decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, which, when elevated, can contribute to the accumulation of fatty deposits in blood vessels, thereby increasing the risk of heart-related issues like heart attacks and strokes.
Furthermore, the fasting insulin levels in the vegan group dropped by 20%, indicating lower blood sugar levels.
This reduction could potentially lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and help prevent blood vessel damage caused by high blood glucose.
Individuals on the plant-based diet also achieved a weight loss of two kilos more than their twins who continued consuming meat and dairy products.
Christopher Gardner, the primary author of the study, said this suggests that individuals opting for a vegan diet can enhance their long-term health in two months, with the most significant changes observed in the initial month.
Based on these results and considering longevity, most individuals would benefit from transitioning to a more plant-based diet.
Published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the study used identical twins to eliminate the influence of genetics on the results and controlled for various factors, including diverse upbringings.
Gardner said this study not only delivered a groundbreaking assertion on the health benefits of a vegan diet compared to the conventional omnivore diet but also showcased the delightful rapport between the twins. They mirrored each other in attire and speech, displaying a camaraderie that naturally develops with extensive time spent together.
The twins, averaging 40 years old, were generally healthy with no history of heart disease. The study concluded that one did not have to adopt a fully vegan lifestyle to enjoy the benefits, as any diet reducing saturated fat and increasing fibre could enhance heart health.
Gardner said a vegan diet offers added advantages like enhanced gut bacteria and a decrease in telomere loss, which contributes to slowing down the aging process in the body.
What’s crucial is not solely adopting a strict vegan diet but incorporating more plant-based foods,” said Gardner, who has predominantly followed a vegan diet for the past four decades.
He added, thankfully, exploring the diverse range of vegan multicultural cuisines such as Indian masala, Asian stir-fry, and African lentil-based dishes can serve as an enjoyable initial step.
The popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets in the UK is on the rise, with approximately one in ten individuals opting for a vegetarian lifestyle.