Vegan vs American Heart Association Diet in Obese Children

This four-week study from the Cleveland Clinic was to study vegan diets in obese children.

Participants on the vegan diet were instructed to avoid all animal products and added fat, and to limit intake of nuts and avocado. They were compared to children on an American Heart Association (AHA) diet which allowed 30% of calories from total fat, 7% of calories from saturated fat, less than 300 mg of cholesterol, and less than 1500 mg of sodium daily.

After four weeks there were a number of small, but statistically significant improvements for children on the vegan diet compared to baseline: body mass index (and body weight), mid-arm circumference, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, CRP and MPO (measures of inflammation), and insulin.

Children on the AHA diet had improvements in body weight, mid-arm circumference, waist circumference, and MPO. The statistically significant differences in improvements between the groups were in lower body mass index and CRP for the vegan group and waist circumference for the AHA group.

Parents and children noted that it was difficult finding food on the vegan diet.

Given access to healthy plant foods, a vegan diet could provide a promising way to reduce childhood obesity.


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1. Macknin M, Kong T, Weier A, Worley S, Tang AS, Alkhouri N, Golubic M. Plant-Based, No-Added-Fat or American Heart Association Diets: Impact on Cardiovascular Risk in Obese Children with Hypercholesterolemia and Their Parents. J Pediatr. 2015 Feb 5. | link

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