Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic tested a plant-based diet on people who had established cardiovascular disease (CVD). The benefits were nothing short of remarkable:
A Way To Reverse CAD?, The Journal of Family Practice, July 2014
They counseled 198 patients on a plant-based diet (free from fish, meat, dairy, eggs, and added oil). Patients were followed for an average of 3.7 years.
“Results: of the 198 patients with CVD, 177 (89%) were adherent. Major cardiac events judged to be recurrent disease totaled one stroke in the adherent cardiovascular participants — a recurrent event rate of .6%, significantly less than reported by other studies of plant-based nutrition therapy. Thirteen of 21 (62%) nonadherent participants experienced adverse events.”
There was a 10% event rate in the diet-compliant group, and a 62% event rate in the diet-non-compliant group.
This is a proof-of-concept study. There was no control group or randomization. Indeed, these patients were strongly motivated to change their diet (44 had a previous heart attack, 75 had stents). There are pluses and minus here – a plus is that you can determine the effect in a group of free living people who had excellent compliance. Dietary compliance is difficult in people who are not living in a closed environment, having their food provided. Compliance is also not easy in randomized groups that may lack incentive. A minus is that without a control group you don’t know for sure that it was the diet that led to benefit. Although the chasm in outcomes between the compliant vs. non-compliant groups are telling. There was a 93% resolution of angina in the compliant group, and 39 compliants had documented disease reversal. You can’t get that with stents and drugs.