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Vegans may have unhealthy cholesterol levels

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Despite the fact that they eat few fatty foods, vegans may be at an increased risk of receiving unhealthy cholesterol test results, according to a new study from a team of Chinese researchers.

Vegan dieters avoid eating any food product that is derived from animals. This not only means that beef, chicken and pork are off the menu, but milk, eggs and cheese are as well. While these products may be high in certain types of fat, they also have many nutrients that are important to heart health.

Chief among these nutrients is HDL, or "good," cholesterol. This type of cholesterol works by sweeping the arteries of dangerous buildups that can cause heart attacks and stroke. Without it, individuals are at an elevated risk of these adverse events.

For the study, researchers from Zhejiang University reviewed dozens of previously published studies on vegan diets. They found that many vegans have dangerously low levels of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and good cholesterol. All of this puts them at an increased risk for developing heart disease, despite the fact that they generally don’t eat much fat.

Duo Li, who led the investigation, said that he would not recommend a vegan diet for anyone, particularly if they are already at risk for developing heart health problems.

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