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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Twin trial unearths vegan heart health benefits

A pioneering study of 22 pairs of identical twins has found that a vegan diet improves cardiovascular health in as little as eight weeks.

Diet studies are often hampered by factors including genetic differences, upbringing and lifestyle choices. By studying identical twins, however, researchers were able to pair genetics and limit other factors, as the twins grew up in the same households and reported similar lifestyles.

Christopher Gardner, PhD, the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor and a professor of medicine, said: “They dressed the same, they talked the same and they had a banter between them that you could have only if you spent an inordinate amount of time together.”

The research, led by Stanford University Department of Medicine, put one twin from each pair on a vegan diet and the other on an omnivore diet for two months.

After eight weeks, the plant-based eaters had significantly lower bad cholesterol (produced by foods higher in saturated fats) than the omnivores. Both omnivores and those on a vegan diet had lost weight, but the latter lost an average 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilos) more than the omnivores. Compared with the omnivores, those on a plant-based diet had a significant reduction in fasting insulin of 20 percent. Higher insulin level equates to a higher risk of diabetes.

Professor  Gardner added: “Not only did this study provide a ground-breaking way to assert that a vegan diet is healthier than the conventional omnivore diet, but the twins were also a riot to work with.”

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