Study: Greater Adherence to Healthy Plant-Based Diet Associated With Lower Risks of Total Mortality, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease

According to a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open, adherence to a healthy plant-based diet “was associated with lower risks of total mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease risk.”

healthy plant-based dietThe study was published in JAMA Network Open and was epublished by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It was conducted by researchers from Queen’s University (UK), the University of Barcelona (Spain), the University of Zurich (Switzerland), the University of Oxford (UK), the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, Cowan University (Australia), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France), and the University Hospital (Germany).

“Plant-based diets have gained popularity for both environmental and health reasons, but a comprehensive assessment of their quality in relation to risk of mortality and major chronic diseases is lacking”, states the study. The objective was to “examine whether healthful vs unhealthful plant-based dietary patterns are associated with mortality and major chronic diseases among UK adults.”

This prospective cohort study used data from 126,394 adults in the UK Biobank, a large-scale population-based study. Participants were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and followed up using record linkage data until 2021; follow-up for different outcomes ranged between 10.6 and 12.2 years. Data analysis was conducted from November 2021 to October 2022. The mean age was 56.1 years old.

“Greater adherence to the hPDI [Healthful Plant-based Diet Index] was associated with lower risks of total mortality, cancer, and CVD, with HRs (95% CIs) of 0.84 (0.78-0.91), 0.93 (0.88-0.99), and 0.92 (0.86-0.99), respectively, for participants in the highest hPDI quartile compared with the lowest”, states the study. “The hPDI was also associated with lower risks of myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke, with HRs (95% CIs) of 0.86 (0.78-0.95) and 0.84 (0.71-0.99), respectively.”

By contrast, higher uPDI (Unhealthful Plant-based Diet Index) scores were associated with higher risks of mortality, CVD, and cancer. The associations observed “did not show heterogeneity across strata of sex, smoking status, body mass index, or socioeconomic status or with polygenic risk scores (specifically with regard to CVD end points).”

The study concldues by stating that “The findings of this cohort study of middle-aged UK adults suggest that a diet characterized by high-quality plant-based foods and lower intakes of animal products may be beneficial for health, irrespective of established chronic disease risk factors and genetic predisposition.”

You can find the full text of this study by clicking here.