Eating mostly plant-based foods can lower levels of harmful fats. New research confirms this.
For the study, researchers pooled the results of 30 different studies published over the past four decades (involving nearly 2,400 people in total). All participants were randomly assigned to follow either a vegan diet, which includes dairy and eggs but no meat and excludes all animal products, or an omnivorous diet, which includes meat and dairy products, respectively. The average diet duration was 29 weeks. Compared to people following an omnivorous diet, those following a vegetarian or vegan diet experienced an average of 7%, 10%, and 14% reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B levels, respectively, from levels measured at the beginning of the study. (Apolipoprotein B is a particle found on LDL and other atherosclerotic lipoproteins in the blood.)
Plant-focused diets are generally higher in healthy unsaturated fats but lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat, which explains the findings. The study was published online in the European Heart Journal on May 24, 2023.