Plant-based dinners cut heart disease risk by 10%, study says

Plant-based dinners with whole carbs, unsaturated fats were healthier than meat and refined carbs, researchers found

Consuming dinners full of plant-based protein and healthy fats and carbs instead of meat and refined carbs can cut the risk of heart disease by 10%, researchers say. 

A team affiliated with Harbin Medical University in China published findings in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism on Wednesday, drawing on dietary data from 27,911 American adults interviewed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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Researchers studied a variety of macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) consumed at dinner versus breakfast, and the respective risk of cardiovascular disease. Results suggest those who ate low-quality carbs faced a higher risk of a heart attack and a type of chest pain called angina, and those who ate animal protein increased their risk of coronary heart disease and angina. In contrast, consumption of unsaturated fatty acid was linked to a lower stroke risk.

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"Meal timing along with food quality are important factors to consider when looking for ways to lower your risk of heart disease," study author Ying Li of the Harbin Medical University said in a related release posted to EurekAlert. "Our study found people who eat a plant-based dinner with more whole carbs and unsaturated fats reduced their risk of heart disease by 10 percent."

 "It's always recommended to eat a healthy diet, especially for those at high risk for heart disease, but we found that eating meat and refined carbs for breakfast instead of dinner was associated with a lower risk," Li said.