7 Groundbreaking Plant-Based Diet Research Articles

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7 Groundbreaking Plant-based Diet Research Articles

Internet buzz aside, plant-based diets are scientifically proven to be healthy and sustainable. As a result, more and more people are saying goodbye to the traditional western diet and joining the plant-based revolution. If you’re still not convinced, these 7 groundbreaking plant-based diet research articles will change your mind. 

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It’s nothing more than going back to our roots, how humans have been consuming food for centuries. Yes, humans did consume meat too, but the majority of their diet came from plants. Processed fast food has changed the human diet drastically over the end of the last century, especially in the West. The results are harrowing: high obesity, deadly diseases, and a general dip in quality of life. 

A plant-based diet has the potential to prevent life-threatening diseases and increase mortality rates. It can provide you will all the nutrients you need to stay fit and live your best life. And scientists, nutritionists, and doctors are working hard to prove it. 

7 Groundbreaking Plant-based Diet Research Articles

Research into plant-based diets goes back many centuries, but it’s only recently that we have made major strides thanks to more advanced technologies. In this regard, the following seven research studies have changed how we see this diet. 

1. Dr. Dean Ornish on Intensive Lifestyle Change Study to Reverse Heart Disease

Dr. Dean Ornish hardly needs an introduction in the plant-based community. He’s been touting a plant-based diet as a way to reverse coronary heart disease for decades. And he conducted an experimental study to prove his knowledge.

His revolutionary control trial conducted over five years was published in JAMA in 1998 and involved many doctors from reputable colleges and hospitals. The study followed two groups for five years, with one following intensive lifestyle changes and the other only moderate changes. The group that had intensive lifestyle changes showed positive outcomes at the end of the five year period. Their coronary heart disease regressed after the five years and had fewer cardiac events. 

Dr. Ornish also started the ‘Undo It with Ornish’ program that works to reverse heart disease. The program has four parts essentially that target diet, physical activity, and mental and emotional support the patient needs to reverse their condition. There have been many heart disease patients in this program who went on to live longer, healthier lives even with their condition. It’s gotten so popular that it’s even covered under Medicare. 

Dr. Dean Ornish

His extraordinary work in the field of cardiology and plant-based nutrition has proven that heart disease is very much reversible. As you know, heart disease is the number one killer in the US. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person dies of heart disease every 36 seconds in the US. 

If a plant-based diet can prevent and treat the deadliest disease in the country, it must be doing something right. 

2. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell

The China Study is not merely an article but a whole book published by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son Thomas Campbell. If their work proves anything, it’s that data is the ultimate answer. For ages, scientists and doctors relied on animal studies, but this particular study used data from people. 

With over 20 years of data collected from all over China, this intensively detailed study set out to find the best nutrition for humans to live long and healthy. Which diet turned out to be the best for humans? A plant-based diet!

It’s not a hunch or experiment, it’s hard cold fact, thanks to this revolutionary research. This comprehensive study was a collaboration between Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. While the research is incredibly detailed, the gist of it is that we need to consume more plants. 

The data suggested that animal protein was not necessary for a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Everything that we get from animal products, we can get from plant sources without the many health hazards. In fact, animal protein promotes cancer, which helps explain the scary statistics of cancer in the US. 

The study also shares some very valuable information regarding nutrition and nutrients. It emphasizes the need for balanced nutrition. A healthy diet is not one without any kind or form of carbs, but one that contains the good carbs. Cutting out carbs completely maybe a quick weight loss fix, but can have grave long-term consequences. A plant-based diet is the way to consuming healthy carbs. 

3. Strategy to Arrest and Reverse Coronary Artery Disease by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn

Much like Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn embarked on an experiment to see if he could stop the progression of coronary artery disease through lifestyle changes. This mainly involved getting on a whole foods plant-based diet. They performed the experimental study on 22 patients over a period of five years. 

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The study was published in the Journal of Family Practice in 1995. The results of the experimental study were exemplary. Not only did the participants stopped the progression of their disease, some of them even saw their arteries unclogging

Those patients who made it through the five-year period and adhered to the lifestyle changes prescribed by their physician saw their cholesterol levels drop. The lesions they were observing either remained the same or regressed. 

Dr. Esselstyn’s work is highly revered in the plant-based community. His revolutionary study, much like his peers like Ornish, showed that a plant-based diet was the ultimate solution to treating heart disease. People could simply opt for lifestyle changes and make measurable progress rather than sticking to medications alone that don’t always work. 

Dr. Esselstyn also has a program for coronary heart disease patients that helps them unclog their arteries through lifestyle changes. He recently was part of another similar study that found that a plant-based diet was also good for treating Pulmonary Hypertension and Diabetes. This particular study was published in the International Journal of Disease Prevention and Reversal and involved Kate J. McGoey-Smith and Andrew David McGoey-Smith as well. 

4. Low-Fat Vegan Diet for Diabetes by Neal D. Barnard

Dr. Neal Barnard, along with a team of physicians, conducted a 74-week trial to compare the effects of a low-fat vegan diet and a traditional diabetes diet on participants with type II diabetes. They found both diets to cause weight loss and reduction in plasma lipid levels, but without medication, the low-fat vegan diet showed more promising results in these diabetic patients. 

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It turns out that a low-fat vegan diet controlled blood sugar levels three times better than the traditional diabetes diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Participants in this clinical trial saw their insulin resistance reduce, and their HbA1c levels drop, which is a marker for diabetes. 

Diabetes is among the top ten causes of death in the US. With obesity so rampant and people generally making poor food choices, it’s not surprising at all. We’re told that diabetes is something you have to live with for the rest of your life. However, plant-based research is showing this is far from reality, as a healthy lifestyle can really make a difference. 

Dr. Neal Barnard’s work, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that a plant-based diet is even better than what’s directly recommended by many physicians. What really makes it effective is that you can still enjoy a variety of foods and get all your nutrients, including the ones you get from animal sources. 

5. The Study About Environmental Impact of Plant-based Diet in Frontiers in Nutrition

In what is the first-ever major study to evaluate the effects of plant-based diets on the environment, it proved that plant-based diets are not just good for our bodies but also the environment. This Frontiers in Nutrition study followed over 34,000 people and looked at their diets and food consumption habits. It looked at how what they ate was linked to the emissions generated by farms. 

The data came from French adults who regularly filled out questionnaires. Based on the data from these participants, the researchers allocated whether their diet was more inclined towards plants or animals. The result confirmed that animal products were responsible for 80 percent of the emissions of dietary greenhouse gases.

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It’s not news that cattle and dairy farms are drivers of environmental pollution in the food chain. Beef, in particular, is notorious for its greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Researchers have found that even moderate consumption of meat leads to a far bigger carbon footprint than those who purely consumed plants. 

This study also emphasized on organic foods, which are great for the environment. If you go plant-based and stick to organic produce, you can drastically lower your carbon footprint. It does point out that organic animal products are not exactly off the hook either. They do contribute to farming-related emissions in some form, if not as much as processed foods. 

With climate change becoming an emergency worldwide, it’s high time people changed their dietary patterns and opted for more sustainable foods. It’s come down to now or never really. 

6. PCRM’s Study About Vegan Diet and Gut Microbiome

Your gut flora is linked with so many systems in your body. You probably think it’s just responsible for turning food into feces, but the billions of bacteria in your gut can really make or break your health. A plant-based diet can promote a healthy gut microbiome, as shown by a study from researchers at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

This 16-week study looked at the effects of a vegan diet on the gut microbiome. It was presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Spain. The researchers found that the vegan diet improved gut flora, promoted a healthy body mass index, and even improved blood sugar control. 

This Frontiers in Nutrition established two important things. First, that the gut microbiome (good bacteria) is responsible for a lot more than digestion. Secondly, a vegan diet high in fiber can improve the flora by promoting healthy bacteria and eliminating bad bacteria. 

Fiber is the nutrient that does all this work. Plant-based foods are some of the most fiber-rich foods. And Americans are not getting nearly enough fiber that they should, which helps explain diabetes and obesity epidemics. 

7. Diet and Cognitive Decline, a Study Following Chinese Adults

A research article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition outlines what we have been suspecting for a long time. Diet is directly linked with age-related cognitive decline that leads to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease


This particular cohort study involved over 63,000 participants of Chinese descent in Singapore.  The participants were divided into five different groups with varying plant-based diets. The researchers found that those who consumed plant-based whole foods saw a reduction in their risk of cognitive decline. Middle-aged adults showed a reduction by as much as 33 percent. 

The research clearly shows the benefit of plants for cognitive health. This is one area that still needs a lot of research, as most research is focused on heart disease and cancer. However, age-related cognitive decline can be avoided through early lifestyle intervention. Even if people switch to plant-based diets in their middle ages, they can circumvent the cognitive decline. 

Wrap Up

These seven groundbreaking plant-based diet research articles confirm the many benefits that this kind of diet offers. However, we’re at the brink of a health and environmental collapse. Therefore,  it’s high time we paid attention to what we eat. It’s not just about our own health, but the health of the planet we call home. 

Time and again, research has proven that we don’t need animal products to survive. A plant-based diet can easily meet our nutritional needs. But more importantly, it can prevent many serious diseases. The inspiring work of plant-based aficionados is a testament to its efficacy and should be enough to convince anyone to make this choice. 

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