Researchers from Harvard analyzed data from 831 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II and were followed for 13 y. In the follow-up period, mean BMI increased from 24.6 to 26.3. Dietary data were collected every 4 y and 3 plant-based diet indices were calculated from FFQs.
- overall plant-based diet index (PDI): all plant-based foods
- healthful plant-based diet index (hPDI): foods rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts,
- unhealthful plant-based diet index (uPDI): fruit juices, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and sweets.
A higher hPDI score (higher adherence to a high-quality plant-based diet) was significantly associated with lower plasma concentrations of leptin, insulin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and a higher plasma concentrations of adiponectin, even after adjustment for BMI and other covariates.
It was concluded that adherence to a healthful plant-based diet is favorably associated with lower concentrations of biomarkers for adiposity and inflammation.