Research Papers

Study Shows that a Plant-based Diet Is More Beneficial for Heart Health When Compared With an Omnivorous Diet


It is well known that a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and that diets centred around increasing plants is more beneficial for heart health. A plant-based diet provides numerous health benefits for all consumers, however more specifically for cardiovascular disease patients. However, if a plant-based diet is not planned properly, it may result in numerous deficiencies such as iron, vitamin B12, protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. This study analyzed the nutrition status of patients with cardiovascular risk factors who undertook a plant-based diet. The participants were either assigned a plant-based diet or an omnivorous diet for eight weeks. Nutrient intake was compared at both the start and end of the eight weeks. The results showed that a plant-based diet produced several benefits including lower energy intake, a lower intake of saturated fat and salt and an increased consumption of fiber, which are all known dietary recommendations for patients with cardiovascular disease. The diet assigned met most of the recommended intakes of vitamins and minerals, except for vitamin B12 in the plant-based diet group, as well as vitamin D and iodine in both groups. Compared with the omnivorous group, the plant-based diet group resulted in a significant reduction in body weight, blood sugar levels and waist circumference after eight weeks. The authors concluded that a plant-based diet has a more beneficial nutrient composition for heart health than an omnivorous dietary pattern.

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A plant-based diet (PBD) can provide numerous health benefits for patients with cardiovascular risk factors. However, an inadequately planned PBD also bear the potential for deficiencies in certain macro- and micronutrients. The present study analyzed nutrient profiles of individuals who adopted a PBD as part of the CardioVeg study. Participants with cardiovascular risk factors were randomly assigned to either a whole-food PBD intervention (n = 36; eight 90 min group meetings including two 120 min cooking sessions) or a control group asked to maintain an omnivorous diet (n = 34) for eight weeks. Food intake data were collected using three-day weighed food records and analyzed with NutriGuide software, including the German Nutrient Data Base (German: Bundeslebensmittelschl├╝ssel). Nutrient intake was compared before and after eight weeks as well as between the groups. The results for both groups were then contrasted to the current dietary recommendations published by the societies for nutrition in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Moreover, anthropometric/laboratory data and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring were determined at baseline and after 8 weeks. Data of a subsample (n = 18 in the PBD group and n = 19 in the control group) were used for the present analyses of the dietary intake data. A PBD yielded several benefits including (but not limited to) a lower energy density, a lower intake of cholesterol and saturated fat, an increased consumption of fiber, and a lower intake of salt. Recommended intakes of most vitamins and minerals were generally met, except for vitamin B12 in the PBD group. A low intake of several other critical nutrients (vitamin D, iodine) was observed in both groups. Compared with the control group, PBD resulted in a significant decrease in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, HbA1c, and fasting blood glucose after 8 weeks. Overall, it can be concluded that a PBD had a more favorable nutrient composition for cardiovascular health than the omnivorous dietary pattern of the control group.


Article Publication Date: 1/11/2022
DOI: 10.3390/nu142145971000

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