New Study: Plant-Based Diet Better Than AHA Mediterranean Diet


Rice seed collection from International Rice Research Institute. Wikipedia. A diet that emphasizes whole grains with no added fat may result in more weight loss and lower cholesterol than a Mediterranean diet.

Study: Plant-Based, No-Added-Fat Or American Heart Association (AHA) Diets: Impact On Cardiovascular Risk In Obese Children with Hypercholesterolemia And Their Parents, The Journal of Pediatrics, 11 February 2015

Press Release: Plant-Based Diet May Reduce Obese Children’s Risk Of Heart Disease, Cleveland Clinic, 12 February 2015

This was a 4-week, randomized trial of 30 overweight children with high cholesterol (greater than 169 mg/dl).

The two diets:

  • Plant-based (PB) diet: Plants and whole grains, with limited avocado and nuts, no added fat, and no animal products.
  • AHA diet: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and non-whole grains, limited sodium, low-fat dairy, selected plant oils, and lean meat and fish in moderation.

PB diet: improvements in 9 measures, statistically significant from baseline:

  • BMI
  • Systolic blood pressure
  • Weight (6.7 lbs)
  • Mid-arm circumference
  • Total cholesterol (-22.5)
  • LDL cholesterol (-13.1)
  • Insulin
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein

AHA diet: improvements in 4 measures, statistically significant from baseline:

  • Weight (2.5 lbs)
  • Waist circumference
  • Mid-arm circumference
  • Myeloperoxidase

Children on the AHA diet were to consume less than 30% of their calories from fat, less than 7% from saturated fat, less than 1500 mg sodium, and less than 300 mg cholesterol. Children on the PB diet were getting much less fat; about 18% of their calories came from fat, less than 4% from saturated fat.

The AHA diet with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat meats and dairy, and olive oil essentially defines the Mediterranean diet that physicians recommend to their heart patients. As you can see, it isn’t their best choice. Lowering the fat and animal foods further resulted in more weight loss and lower cholesterol in both the children in this study and their parents who followed the diet along with them.

3 thoughts on “New Study: Plant-Based Diet Better Than AHA Mediterranean Diet

  1. Melinda

    So sad to think of kids starting life off with high cholesterol. It seems more and more like overweight (esp. girls) is the new normal.


  2. Pingback: Mediterranean Diet Posts | Fanatic Cook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s