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J Vasc Nurs. 2014 Jun;32(2):46-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jvn.2013.12.003.

Are plant-based diets efficacious in lowering total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels?

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University of California, Davis; Vascular Center Clinic, Sacramento, California. Electronic address:


Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and around the globe. A large body of literature accumulated over the past several decades has shown the benefit of lowering serum total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels to reduce cardiovascular risk. National guidelines suggest therapeutic lifestyle changes, beginning with diet, as a first step toward lowering TC and LDL-C. It has been suggested a plant-based, low fat diet can substantially reduce TC and LDL- C and thereby reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this review is to examine the state of the science regarding the efficacy of plant-based diets in reducing serum TC and LDL-C levels. While results of the research review indicate some benefit, strong evidence supporting the efficacy of plant-based diet in reducing atherogenic lipids is lacking.

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