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By Nancy Gossard
Wellness Editor 

Vegan vs. American Heart Diet

 

Last updated 3/7/2019 at 6:18pm

Has someone you love had a stroke or heart attack? Can what we eat impact our health in a dramatic way? This study says yes. 100 people with existing coronary issues changed their diets to try and prevent a second coronary issue.

JAHA, the Journal of the American Heart Association, (AHA) reported last November on the findings from a trial of 100 people with existing coronary artery disease. They wanted to see if diet affected secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Secondary prevention of CVD refers to health care that aims to prevent the recurrence of cardiovascular events (e.g. heart attack or stroke) or complications of CVD in people diagnosed with CVD.

For eight weeks, the participants either ate a vegan diet with no meat, dairy, eggs, or fish, or they ate the AHA diet, which recommends lean poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products, along with plant-based foods. The participants received groceries, cookbooks, and sample meal plans.

One thing the researchers were tracking is hsCRP. High‐sensitivity C‐reactive protein is a marker of risk for major adverse cardiovascular outcomes in coronary artery disease (CAD). In other words, the higher your CRP, the higher the risk for a heart attack or stroke.

A vegan diet resulted in a significant 32 percent lower high-sensitivity C-reactive protein when compared with the American Heart Association diet.

Inflammation plays a central role in the progression of atherosclerosis and is associated with stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack). The aim of this study was to determine the effects of the diets on hsCRP, as well as other markers in patients with established CAD on guideline-directed medical therapy.

Ridker was cited in a USPharmacist article that notes that the best ways to lower CRP are already known to lower cardiovascular risk, including diet, exercise, blood pressure control, and smoking cessation.

During the study, no one had a heart attack on either diet, but two people had strokes on the AHA diet.

From the study: "In conclusion, in patients with CAD and an elevated hsCRP despite guideline-directed medical therapy, a vegan diet may be considered to further lower this marker of adverse outcomes. The vegan diet does not appear to provide significant added benefit when compared with the AHA-recommended diet in terms of weight loss, glycemic control, or lipid profile improvement." Glycemic control refers to diabetes and your lipid profile is typically cholesterol, triglycerides, and high and low density lipoproteins (LDL & HDL).

You can read the full study from the link below. Always consult with your health practitioner before changing your diet. Some medications may need to be reduced or stopped as your health changes.

If you are interested in further reading on this topic, read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. M.D. or How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger M.D. with Gene Stone.

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.118.011367

Ridker PM. Cardiology Patient Page. C-reactive protein: a simple test to help predict risk of heart attack and stroke. Circulation. 2003;108(12):e81-e85.

https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/the-application-of-high-sensitivity-creactive-protein-in-clinical-practice

 

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