Veganism: While not everyone can choose a vegan diet, experts say small adjustments can boost heart health
Veganism was put to the test in the latest Stanford University study, where scientists compared its cardiovascular health benefits to those of an omnivore diet. Their findings are as follows.
The study, published in JAMA Network Open, used pairs of identical twins to minimize variables, revealing that adopting a vegan diet for eight weeks led to marked improvements in cardiovascular health.
Dr Christopher D Gardner, the senior author of the study, explained the uniqueness of the approach: “The idea of working with identical twins was exciting to us.
When identical twins are randomized into two arms of the study, the genetics match perfectly and probably many other factors match because these pairs grew up in the same families, lived in the same neighborhoods, and have many other similarities.”
The study involved 22 pairs of twins, with one twin following a vegan diet and the other on an omnivorous diet for two months. Both diets included vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains, while limiting added sugars and refined grains.
Surprisingly, the vegan group showed a 20% reduction in fasting insulin levels and lost an average of 4.2 kg more than their omnivorous counterparts.
Dr. Gardner expressed surprise at the significant differences observed, especially considering the generally healthy participants in both groups. The study highlighted the rapid positive changes that a more plant-based diet can bring about in cardiometabolic risk factors.
While not everyone can choose a vegan diet, medical experts agree that even small adjustments can positively impact cardiovascular health. Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, an interventional cardiologist, emphasized the heart-healthy components of a vegan diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains.
Monique Richard, registered dietitian nutritionist, suggested practical steps like increasing your fruit and vegetable intake or trying new vegan recipes to promote cardiovascular wellness.
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