New research shows plant-based diets are better for you

Two weeks after Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations determined that meat, eggs and dairy are sources of much-needed nutrients, a study published in the journal European Heart Journal on Thursday said that “plant-based diets can play an important role in reducing artery blockages, thereby reducing the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, such as stroke.” and heart attack.”

As part of the new study, the researchers looked at 30 randomized trials with 2,372 participants, published between 1982 and 2022. They examined the effects of a vegetarian or vegan diet. compared with omnivores, which include both animals and plants, on the following points:

  • Total fat
  • Low-density lipoprotein, also known as LDL or “bad” cholesterol
  • triglycerides; a type of fat, or “lipid”, found in the blood
  • Apolipoprotein B, also known as apoB, a protein that helps transport fats and cholesterol in the blood

This is the first meta-analysis on the topic published since 2017 and the first to look at the impact of continent, age, body mass index and health status, as well as Effect of diet on apoB levels. is a good indicator of the total amount of bad fat and cholesterol in the body.

Benefits of a plant-based diet

“We found that vegetarian and vegan diets were associated with a 14% reduction in all arterial-clotting lipoproteins indicated by apolipoprotein B. This corresponds to a third of the effects of taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins and would lead to Dr Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, chief physician at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, who carried out the study with colleagues , reported a 7% reduction in cardiovascular disease risk in people who maintained a plant-based diet for 5 years. a press release about the study.

Frikke-Schmidt also says that treatment with statins, a class of drugs that can help lower LDL cholesterol, is “superior” to a plant-based diet when it comes to reducing fat and cholesterol levels; however, “one regimen does not rule out the other, and combining a statin with a plant-based diet may have a synergistic effect, leading to an even greater beneficial effect.”

Compared with omnivores, those who ate the plant-based diet had an average reduction in total cholesterol levels of 7% from levels recorded at the start of the study; 10% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels; and a 14% decrease in apoB levels.

In addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, other benefits of a plant-based diet include a reduced risk of:

Frikke-Schmidt continues: “If people start to be vegetarian or vegan at an early age, the potential for a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease due to clogged arteries is huge. “Importantly, we found similar results across different continents, ages, ranges of body mass index, and among people with different health conditions.”

Global effect

According to research, in addition to the health benefits for humans, plant-based diets have a positive impact on the environment.

“Recent systematic reviews have shown that if people in high-income countries switch to a plant-based diet, this could reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 35% to 49%. “Our study provides solid evidence that plant-based diets are good for our health for people of different sizes, ages and health conditions,” said Frikke-Schmidt.

Vegetarian and vegan diets It could even help offset the rising costs of age-related diseases facing an aging global population, experts say.

“Plant-based diets are a key tool to shift food production to more environmentally sustainable forms, while reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease,” said Frikke-Schmidt. “We should eat a varied, plant-based diet, not too much, and quench our thirst with water.”


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