Study Shows That Eating Vegan is Good for Your Heart

Pairs of twins participated in this nutritionally based research.

Dec 17, 2023
Study Shows That Eating Vegan is Good for Your Heart | Pairs of twins participated in this nutritionally based research.

People choose to eat a vegan diet for many reasons. For some, it is because they do not want to eat animals and for others it is because of the environmental costs of the meat industry. A third group gives up an omnivore diet to benefit their health.

Now a new study, led by Stanford University in California, has found that a vegan diet improved the participants' cardiovascular heath in just eight weeks. While other studies have come to the same conclusions, the data could be skewed by genetic and lifestyle changes, according to Stanford Medical News. What was unique about the trial was that all the participants were sets of identical twins.

“Not only did this study provide a groundbreaking way to assert that a vegan diet is healthier than the conventional omnivore diet, but the twins were also a riot to work with,” Christopher Gardner, PhD, a research professor of medicine and senior author of the study, said in Stanford Medical News.

“They dressed the same, they talked the same and they had a banter between them that you could have only if you spent an inordinate amount of time together.”

The twins trial
In the trial, one of the twins ate a vegan diet that included no animal products, and the other ate an omnivore diet, according to TODAY. Both of the diets were considered healthy and included a large number of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains while limiting highly processed foods.

“Each pair of twins was randomly assigned to one of the two diets, so no one got to choose their own diet assignment,” Gardner told TODAY. All of the participants in the study had healthy weights and their cholesterol and blood sugars were in the normal range.
According to Gardner, the use of identical twins in the study was the critical factor because outside influences can affect the results of these types of studies. But using identical twins, ensured that the participants had the same genes, upbringing and similar life experiences concerning food and exercise.

The results
All of the twins were weighed and had blood drawn to measure results, three times during the study. The participants who ate the vegan diet showed significantly lower LDL-C (bad) cholesterol levels, improved insulin levels and body weight dropped, according to Stanford Medical News.

That’s because the people who were assigned vegan diets did the three most important things that are necessary to improve cardiovascular health; cutting cack on saturated fats, increasing dietary fiber, and weight loss.

Based on these results and thinking about longevity, most of us would benefit from going to a more plant-based diet,” Gardner told Stanford Medical News. But that doesn’t mean going completely vegan. Adding more plant-based food into your diet is the key to better heart health.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.