Vegan Diet More Effective than American Heart Association Diet?

Yep! According to a four-week study done by a pediatrician, Michael Macknin, MD., a vegan diet may be more effective than the American Heart Association (AHA) diet in reducing cardiovascular risks in obese children. Obese children who begin a low-fat, plant-based vegan diet may lower their risk of heart disease through improvements in their weight, blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity, and high-sensitivity C-reactive.

The four-week study compared a plant-based vegan diet to the AHA diet in 28 obese children with high cholesterol between the ages of 9 and 18. One parent of each child was on the assigned diet plan also.

“As the number of obese children with high cholesterol continues to grow, we need to have effective lifestyle modifications to help them reverse their risk factors for heart disease. We’ve known that plant-based diets are beneficial in adults in preventing and possibly reversing heart disease. This study shows that the same may be true in children too, though more studies are needed.”Dr. Michael Macknin, a staff pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s
Those on the plant-based diet consumed plants and whole grains, with limited avocado and nuts, no added fat, and no animal products.

These children experienced significant improvements in nine measures:
  1. BMI,
  2. systolic blood pressure,
  3. weight, mid-arm circumference,
  4. total cholesterol,
  5. low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and
  6. insulin,
  7. two common markers of heart disease,
  8. myeloperoxidase, and
  9. high-sensitivity C-reactive protein

Those on the American Heart Association diet consumed fruits, vegetables, whole grains and non-whole grains, limited sodium, low-fat dairy, selected plant oils, and lean meat and fish in moderation.foodmedicine

These children experienced significant improvements in four measures:
  1. weight,
  2. waist circumference,
  3. mid-arm circumference,
  4. and myeloperoxidase.
“Cardiovascular disease begins in childhood. If we can see such significant improvements in a short four-week study, imagine the potential for improving long-term health into adulthood if a whole population of children began to eat these diets regularly.”Dr. Michael Macknin, a staff pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s
Children on the plant-based diet reduced their consumption of animal protein from 42 grams daily to 2.24 grams daily, while also reducing their percentage of calories from fat to 18% and saturated fat to 3.6%.

Children on the AHA diet consumed less than 30% of their total calories from fat, less than 7% of calories from saturated fat, less than 1,500 mg sodium and less than 300 mg cholesterol.

“Most families in the study were able to follow these dietary guidelines for the four-week study, but we found that they had difficulty purchasing the food necessary for a balanced plant-based diet. So we know that plant-based diets are effective, but if they are to be widely used, we need to make access to plant-based, no-added-fat foods easier and more affordable.”

– Dr. Macknin

Throughout the years, many vegan products have been appearing on the market and welcomed with open arms by many consumers. Perhaps the more accessible it is and people know how to incorporate it into their everyday routine, we may find it to be easier and affordable to attain. Let’s try it and see! 🙂


Share the Love