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Nutrients. 2019 Dec 24;12(1). pii: E55. doi: 10.3390/nu12010055.

Dietary Intakes and Cardiovascular Health of Healthy Adults in Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Whole-Food Plant-Based Lifestyle Program.

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Department of Nutrition, Biosciences, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Barbara Jakše sole proprietor, 1230 Domžale, Slovenia.
Basics of Movements in Sport, Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Gortanova 22, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Centre for Preventive Cardiology, Department of Vascular Diseases, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška 2, 1525 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov trg 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies, University of Primorska, Titov trg 4, 6000 Koper, Capodistria, Slovenia.
Department of Nephrology, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Zaloška 2, 1525 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University Children's Hospital, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Bohoričeva 20, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.


An effective lifestyle strategy to reduce cardiovascular diseases risk (CVD) factors is needed. We examined the effects of a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle program on dietary intake and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors in 151 adults (mean 39.6 (SD 12.5) years). Adherence was categorised into short-, medium- and long-term (years: (0.5-<2), (2-<5) and (5-10)), for both genders separately. Dietary intakes were assessed, fasting blood lipids and blood pressure (BP) were measured, and % participants reaching guideline recommended targets for LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and BP in the primary CVD prevention was assessed. There were no statistically significant differences in intakes of energy and most nutrients among participants (both genders), that were short-, medium- and long term in our program. Diet was mainly composed of unprocessed vegetables/fruits, whole grains, legumes, potatoes, and nuts/seeds. LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic BP were within targets for: 93%, 97%, 88% and 95% participants, respectively. In females (vs. males), total- and HDL-cholesterol were higher (mean): 3.8 (SD 0.7) vs. 3.4 (SD 0.9), p = 0.002 and 1.5 (SD 0.3) vs. 1.1 (SD 0.2) mmol/L, p < 0.001), systolic BP was lower (113 (SD 11) vs. 120 (SD 10) mmHg, p = 0.001), while there was no difference in diastolic BP (71 (SD 9) vs. 72 (SD 8) mmHg, p = 0.143). More females vs. males reached target triglycerides (99% vs. 91%, p = 0.021) and systolic BP (92% vs. 79%, p = 0.046), while similar females and males reached target LDL-cholesterol (94% vs. 91%, p = 0.500) and diastolic BP (93% vs. 100%, p = 0.107). Participation in our WFPB lifestyle program is associated with favourable dietary intakes, safety markers, and CV risk factor profiles.


blood lipids; blood pressure; cardiovascular health; lifestyle; nutrition; plant-based diet; vegan diet

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Conflict of interest statement

N.F.M., J.P., B.J. (Borut Jug) and U.G. do not declare any conflict of interest and collaborated as independent researchers. B.J. (Barbara Jakše) and S.P. receive royalty compensation from Herbalife Nutrition, which did not have any role in the design of the study, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data nor in writing/preparation the manuscript. B.J. (Boštjan Jakše) is B.J. (Barbara Jakše)’s spouse and therefore gains income from the same sources.

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