New research on pairs of identical twins has demonstrated that switching to a vegan diet for just 8 weeks can lead to improved cardiovascular health.
The study found that twins placed on a vegan meal plan, compared to those who maintained an omnivorous diet, showed decreased insulin, weight loss, and significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol. LDL is associated with higher risks of heart disease and stroke.
The gold-standard study monitored 22 sets of identical twins over 8 weeks. Each pair was split, with one sibling following a nutritious vegan diet devoid of all animal products, while the other ate a standard healthy diet including meat. Both groups emphasized whole, unrefined plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
For the first month, pre-prepared meals were delivered to ensure complete adherence and nutrient balance. The final 4 weeks involved home meal prep using provided guidelines. Participants were told to eat until full satiety. The vegan twins experienced greater improvements in key markers for metabolic health.
This rigorous trial adds to a swell of data highlighting health upsides linked to plant-centric diets. Various studies globally have connected vegan and vegetarian diets with decreased body weight, blood pressure, diabetes risk and more. Experts do caution those going fully vegan to supplement critical nutrients like B12. When practiced correctly, balanced veganism shows longevity benefits – but absolutist perfection isn’t required to reap advantages.
Lead researcher Dr. Christopher Gardner of Stanford University explained, “Not only did this study provide a groundbreaking way to assert that a vegan diet is healthier than the conventional omnivore diet, but the twins were also a riot to work with. They dressed the same, they talked the same and they had a banter between them that you could have only if you spent an inordinate amount of time together.
Despite mounting science pointing to health perks of plant-forward eating, some backlash continues painting veganism as an impossible sacrifice. In reality, embracing more fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and whole grains incrementally also confers big benefits without requiring dogmatic adherence to restrictions. Even the study authors confirm, “What’s more important than going strictly vegan is including more plant-based foods into your diet.”
Rather than demanding societal-level vegan conformity, experts advise realistic, individual steps towards more sustainable, compassionate food choices providing personal gains. With open minds and supportive community, collective progress can occur.