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Scientific Updates /

Plant-based eating and cardiometabolic health

17 September 2020

Type:

Expert opinion
Review

A 2020 Alpro Foundation fully referenced scientific report

This extensive fully referenced 66-page scientific review investigates the current burden of cardiometabolic disease and associated risk factors and how different dietary patterns and foods, in the main plant-based, can beneficially influence outcomes.

The report was written by eight leading experts in the field including David Jenkins, John Sievenpiper, Sonia Blanco Mejia, Cyril Kendall, Hana Kahleova, Nerea Becerra-Tomas and Jordi Salas-Salvadó.

The burden of cardiometabolic disease

Cardiometabolic disease includes several common but often preventable conditions such as heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death and is associated with a high burden of disease worldwide, contributing to 31% of all global deaths.

Important behavioural factors associated with CVD risk include: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use. 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable and about 45% of all premature deaths from CVD can be attributed to diet. Additionally, the only recommended treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a disease closely related to CVD, are lifestyle changes, including diet and physical exercise.

Plant-based diets and cardiometabolic health

It is therefore of great importance to assess which dietary patterns can majorly improve these diseases. Plant-based diets have several characteristics that may contribute to their role in cardiometabolic health. These include high fibre content, low caloric density, high nutrient density, lower saturated fat, beneficial fatty acid composition (higher in unsaturated fats) and anti-inflammatory compounds.

The Alpro Foundation scientific update explains the impact of various plant-based eating patterns and specific plant-based foods on cardiometabolic health, including:

  • Mediterranean diet

  • Nordic diet

  • Portfolio diet

  • Vegetarian and vegan diets

  • Nuts

  • Legumes

  • Soya

  • Whole grains

  • Fruit and vegetables

Conclusion

The extensive review of the evidence demonstrates that a variety of plant-based diets may have positive effects on the incidence of and mortality from various CVD outcomes and help to improve several cardiometabolic risk factors. Plant-based diets emphasizing the consumption of vegetables, fruits, soya, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains are particularly beneficial for cardiometabolic health.

Download the full report (in English)

Download the summary report:

References

  1. Kahleova H, Becerra-Tomas N, Blanco Mejia S et al. Scientific update on plant-based eating and cardiometabolic health. Belgium: Alpro Foundation September 2020

Alpro Foundation report

Scientific update on plant-based eating and cardiometabolic health

Alpro Foundation report

Summary report: plant-based eating and cardiometabolic health

Event

E-symposium: Plant-based diets and cardiometabolic health

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Alpro Foundation report

Scientific update on plant-based eating and cardiometabolic health

This extensive scientific review investigates the current burden of cardiometabolic disease and associated risk factors and how different dietary patterns and foods, in the main plant-based, can beneficially influence outcomes.