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Plant-based dietary patterns are typically higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than other dietary patterns. Consequently, they may confer health benefits that reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. A recent study found that a vegan diet reduced body weight, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and fasting insulin in healthy adults.

To negate any genetic influences that diet might have on cardiometabolic fitness, researchers recruited 22 pairs of female twins to participate in the study. Within each twin pair, one twin followed a healthy vegan diet for eight weeks, and the other followed a healthy omnivorous diet. The researchers measured the twins' cardiometabolic markers before and after the intervention.

They found that compared to twins who ate an omnivorous diet, twins who followed a vegan diet experienced reduced body weight, LDL cholesterol, and fasting insulin. Participants following a vegan diet had a lower protein, dietary cholesterol, and vitamin B12 intake and a higher vegetable and dietary iron intake than those on the omnivorous diet. They also reported lower satisfaction with their dietary options.

The findings from this small study suggest that following a vegan diet confers cardiometabolic benefits in healthy young women, aligning with previous research demonstrating that vegan diets reduce the risk of cardiometabolic disease. They also underscore the considerable influence that diet has on cardiometabolic health. Learn how to avoid dietary deficiencies when following a vegan diet in this clip featuring Rich Roll.

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