A ‘veganalysis‘ by leading UK health check service Medichecks cross referenced key biomarkers for both plant-based and omnivorous eaters, and found significant differences between the results in both groups.
- Vegans had a lower blood sugar (HbA1c) count, which means they have lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Vegans showed reduced non-HDL (unhealthy) cholesterol and lower overall cholesterol than meat-eaters – meaning decreased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Vegans had around a 30% higher blood level of folate compared to those following a non-vegan diet. (Folate is one of the B-vitamins needed to make red and white blood cells and it converts carbohydrates into energy)
- The marker for liver health (GGT) was 25-30% lower for vegans
- Ferritin (iron) levels were 30% lower in vegans versus omnivores, while still being within the ‘healthy’ range for both. This can be attributed to haem iron (from meat foods) being more easily absorbed by the body, so those following a plant-based diet need to ensure they are eating sufficient whole grain cereals, nuts and seeds, and dark green vegetables.
Dr Natasha Fernando, a GP and Head of Clinical Excellence at Medichecks explains: “An important finding from this 2020 study is the effect of a plant-based diet in supporting the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels, because this is a determinant for type 2 diabetes. As published recently in The Lancet, diabetics are 40% more likely to have fatal or critical-care COVID. The evidence that switching to plant-based foods can manage or reverse this condition is hugely valuable, particularly as we navigate the peak of this pandemic.”