Veggie Burgers Could Cut Health Care Costs
Heart disease, stroke, and other health problems related to high blood cholesterol account for $634 billion in direct and indirect costs every year. But a scientific review in October’s American Journal of Cardiology found that vegetarian and vegan diets cut cholesterol levels decisively, offering a possible solution to these exorbitant costs.
In “The Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Plasma Lipids,” PCRM’s Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., and Neal Barnard, M.D., compiled results from 27 previously published scientific studies and compared the effects of four diet interventions on cholesterol levels. Individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet rich in nuts, soy, and fiber experienced the greatest reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular disease—America’s number one killer. Dietary interventions includ ing small amounts of lean meat were less effective at reducing cholesterol.
“Heart-healthy plant-based diets could dramatically reduce spending on cholesterol-lowering drugs, cardiac surgery, and blood pressure medication,” says Dr. Ferdowsian.