This original research article appears in the Journal of Family Practice in July 2014, vol 63, no 7.
Purpose: Plant-based nutrition achieved coronary artery disease (CAD) arrest and reversal in a small study. However, there was skepticism that this approach could succeed in a larger group of patients. The purpose of our follow-up study was to define the degree of adherence and outcomes of 198 consecutive patient volunteers who received counseling to convert from a usual diet to plant-based nutrition.
Methods: We followed 198 consecutive patients counseled in plant-based nutrition. These patients with established cardiovascular disease (CVD) were interested in transitioning to plant-based nutrition as an adjunct to usual cardiovascular care. We considered participants adherent if they eliminated dairy, fish, and meat, and added oil.
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.
Conclusion: Most of the volunteer patients with CVD responded to intensive counseling, and those who sustained plant-based nutrition for a mean of 3.7 years experienced a low rate of subsequent cardiac events. This dietary approach to treatment deserves a wider test to see if adherence can be sustained in broader populations. Plant-based nutrition has the potential for a large effect on the CVD epidemic.
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