Plant based diets are becoming increasingly popular around the world, particularly in the USA. This rise of the low meat/no meat diet fad is fueled by a combination of individuals becoming increasingly more concerned with animal treatment as well as a host of scientific literature espousing the benefits of a plant based diet.
Two rather large studies from 2018, including over 10,000 people, found that those who consumed a high percentage of plant-based protein to animal-based protein had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.[1,2]
Another study involving nearly 30,000 US adults suggests that the quality of plant-based foods in the diet is more important than the quality of animal-based foods. In fact, individuals had a 30% lower chance of mortality when selecting higher quality plant-based foods (note: this effect was even more pronounced in individuals with chronic disease). Interestingly, selecting higher-quality animal-based products had negligible impact on mortality.
These recent studies bolster the findings of an extensive 2017 review (including both observational and interventional studies) on plant based diets which observed that plant-based diets “may also confer higher levels of diet quality than are observed with other therapeutic diet approaches, with similar levels of adherence and acceptability.”
So, what is it about plant based diets that makes them so healthy?
4 Big Benefits of Plant Based Diets
Supports Weight Loss
Countless studies have found that when people switch from eating the standard american diet to a plant-based diet, they are able to lose weight and maintain their weight loss (which is usually the hard part for people following a diet).[3,5,6]
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Plant-based diets (such as the Mediterranean diet) are also well-known to support heart health.
A 2017 study including over 200,000 people found that individuals who consumed a plant-based diet had a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those not following a plant based diet.
Plant based diets with modest amounts of animal protein (which provide essential amino acids) have also been noted to potentially slow or prevent cognitive decline as well as other neurological disorders in older adults.
As you know, plants are rich in polyphenols, flavanols, and antioxidants which have been documented to attenuate the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reverse cognitive deficits.
A separate 2017 review including over 31,000 subjects observed that those who ate more plants in their diets had a 20% drop in the risk of developing cognitive impairment.
Lowers Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes affects more 100 million Americans and the number of individuals affected by the disease shows no signs of slowing.
Plant-based diets may be an effective means to help limit the progression of the disease or the chances of becoming diabetic in the first place.
Research notes that following a plant based diet lowers the risk of developing diabetes by 34% compared to individuals not following plant-based diets.
Another intriguing piece of research found that vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians were associated with ~50% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarians diets.
Plant-based diets also help provide more stable blood sugar levels as well, another important metric for individuals with diabetes.
For added blood sugar regulation support, Performax Labs offers SlinMax -- a complete glucose disposal agent that enhances nutrient partitioning by improving insulin action through multiple mechanisms.
Plant based diets are associated with a plethora of health benefits, including decreased risks of heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes and even cancer.
Embarking on a journey to eat healthier begins with removing unhealthy foods like refined sugars and grains and implementing more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean meats.
- P01-070 - Type of protein consumed in uences atherosclerotic calci cation : cross-sectional analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health ( ELSA-Brasil ). (n.d.), 89.
- Braun, K. (n.d.). P01-014 - Associations between substitution of macronutrient intake and coronary heart disease ( CHD ): The Rotterdam Study Presenting Author.
- Turner-McGrievy G, Mandes T, Crimarco A. A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. J Geriatr Cardiol. 2017;14(5):369–374. doi:10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.05.002
- "Nutrition 2018 Meeting." OR18-01 - Plant- and Animal-Based Diet Quality and Mortality among US Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2010.
- Wright N, Wilson L, Smith M, Duncan B, McHugh P. The BROAD study: A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes. Nutr Diabetes. 2017;7(3):e256. Published 2017 Mar 20. doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.3
- Huang RY, Huang CC, Hu FB, Chavarro JE. Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Gen Intern Med. 2015;31(1):109–116. doi:10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7
- Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Spiegelman D, et al. Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;70(4):411–422. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.047
- Malar, D. S., & Devi, K. P. (2014). Dietary polyphenols for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease--future research and development. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 15(4), 330–342.
- Jiang X, Huang J, Song D, Deng R, Wei J, Zhang Z. Increased Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables Is Related to a Reduced Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: Meta-Analysis. Front Aging Neurosci. 2017;9:18. Published 2017 Feb 7. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2017.00018
- Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Rimm EB, et al. Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Med. 2016;13(6):e1002039. Published 2016 Jun 14. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002039
- Tonstad S, Butler T, Yan R, Fraser GE. Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2009;32(5):791–796. doi:10.2337/dc08-1886