AHA EPI/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions

AHA EPI/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions

March 12, 2015
2 min read

Plant-based diet lowers risk for CVD mortality

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Adherence to a plant-based, pro-vegetarian food pattern was associated with decreased risk for CVD-related mortality, according to data presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions.

The pro-vegetarian food pattern includes a greater amount of plant-based foods rather than animal-derived foods. Adherence to a pro-vegetarian food pattern was assessed based on consumption of plant-based food groups including cereals, fruit, legumes, nuts, olive oil, potatoes and vegetables, as well as animal-based foods including animal fats, dairy products, eggs, meat and seafood.

Researchers evaluated data from 451,256 adults (320,886 women) enrolled in the EPIC cohort study. The participants were aged 35 to 70 years and had no history of chronic disease at baseline. The researchers collected from each patient anthropometric data, lifestyle behaviors and dietary habits indicated by self-reported food frequency questionnaires. A score of 12 to 60 was determined for each participant to indicate adherence to a pro-vegetarian diet; consumption of plant-based foods resulted in a higher score and animal-based foods resulted in a lower score. A score below 30 indicated very low adherence (< 45% of food from plant sources); 30 to 34, low adherence; 35 to 39, moderate adherence; 40 to 44, high adherence; 45 and above, very high adherence (> 70% plant-based foods).

CVD-related death was reported in 5,083 participants during a median follow-up of 12.8 years.

After adjustment for confounders including BMI, activity, total energy intake and physical activity, researchers observed reduced risk for CVD mortality among participants with greater adherence to a pro-vegetarian food pattern. Compared with very low adherence, reduced risk was observed among those with low adherence (HR = 0.92; 95% CI, 0.85-1.01), moderate adherence (HR = 0.88), high adherence (HR = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.74-0.9) and very high adherence (HR = 0.8; 95% CI, 0.7-0.93).

"Instead of drastic avoidance of animal-based foods, substituting some of the meat in your diet with plant-based sources may be a very simple, useful way to lower CV mortality," Camille Lassale, PhD, epidemiologist at Imperial College London's School of Public Health, said in a press release. - by Adam Taliercio


Lassale C, et al. Abstract #16. Presented at: American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions; March 3-6, 2015; Baltimore.

Disclosure: Lassale reports no relevant financial disclosures.