A collaboration between researchers from Keio University, Japan, and the George Washington University conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of a plant-based diet and plasma lipids (i.e. cholesterol levels).
Observing data from 30 observational studies and 19 clinical trials, all showed that consumption of vegetarian diets was associated with lower cholesterol levels compared to omnivorous (plant and animal) diets.
The researchers noted: “Plant-based diets are associated with decreased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but not with decreased triglycerides.”
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is referred to as “bad” cholesterol by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The American Heart Association elaborated: “[LDL cholesterol] contributes to fatty build-ups in arteries (atherosclerosis).
“This narrows the arteries and increases the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease (PAD).”
Meanwhile, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered the “good” kind because it may “protect against heart attack and stroke”.