Vegan Diets Lower Chronic Disease Risk
Here’s more good news about following a low-fat vegan diet: A new report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association finds not only that a low-fat vegan diet is more effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes than the conventional diabetes diet, but also that individuals following this diet regimen have a nutritional profile that reduces the risk for heart disease.
In a 22-week study, 99 people with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to follow either a low-fat, low-glycemic vegan diet or a diet based on American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines. The vegan diet consisted of grains, fruit, vegetables, and legumes. Participants avoided animal products and fatty foods, and favored low-glycemic-index foods, such as beans, vegetables, pasta, and fruit. There were no restrictions on calories or portion sizes.
The vegan diet dramatically cut cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat, and increased healthful fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins K and C. Overall, the vegan group saw a significant increase in the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) score, which indicates the risk of heart attack and other diseases, while the ADA group saw no improvement in AHEI score.
This study suggests that, if followed for the long-term, a low-fat vegan diet reduces the risk of major chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease.