Effects of a Vegan Diet on Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Body Mass Index

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Numerous studies have shown that vegans have lower cholesterol levels, reduced blood pressure, and decreased body mass index (BMI), all of which contribute to decreased heart disease (see next post). You can read a review of these studies written by Jack Norris, Registered Dietitian and the President and Executive Director of Vegan Outreach.

Summary of the conclusions:

  • Vegans have lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, while having about the same HDL cholesterol as Lacto-Ovo and Non-Veg.
  • Vegans have lower rates of high blood pressure than Lacto-Ovo and Non-Veg.
  • Vegans have a lower BMI and body fat percentage than Lacto-Ovo and Non-Veg. People who have been vegan for more than 5 years have the lowest BMI of all diet groups studied here.
  • Lower BMI explained most of the differences in blood pressure among the diet groups.
  • The lower BMI’s of vegans were due to decreased body fat, not less muscle mass.