Contrasting effects of short-term Mediterranean and Vegan diets on microvascular function and cholesterol in younger adults: a comparative pilot study


Background: The Mediterranean diet has been shown to improve cardiovascular health. Vegan diets have demonstrated similar benefits, albeit in fewer studies. In a comparative pilot study, we compared the effects of a short-term Mediterranean (MD) and Vegan Diet (VD) on microvascular function and cholesterol levels in a healthy population. Methods: 24 young (aged 18 to 35 years) healthy volunteers followed a 4-week intervention (MD = 12; VD = 12) ad libitum. Pre and post-intervention anthropometrics, microvascular function (assessed via LDF and expressed as raw CVC and %CVC MAX), dietary-analysis data (Calories, Protein, Carbohydrates, Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Fibre), Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP), Blood Pressure, Total Cholesterol (TC), High Density Lipoprotein (HDL-C) and TC:HDL-C were compared. Results: MD participants reduced Total Fat intake (P = 0.05). Saturated Fat decreased (MD: P = < 0.001; VD: P = 0.004) and Fibre increased (MD: P = 0.02; VD: P = < 0.001) in both groups. Dietary changes reflected improvements in plateau raw CVC in the MD group (P = 0.005), and a reduction in TC (P = 0.045) and weight loss (P = 0.047) in the VD group. Conclusions: The MD led to improvements in microvascular function; the VD led to reduced TC and weight loss. Although both diets might offer CVD risk-reduction benefits, evidence for the MD appeared to be stronger due to changes in vasodilatory ability and NO bioavailability.

Keywords: Vegan diet, Mediterranean diet, microvascular function, Laser Doppler Flowmetry, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease
Academic units: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing (HWB) > Academic Departments > Academy of Sport and Physical Activity
Faculty of Health and Wellbeing (HWB) > Research Centres > Centre for Sport and Exercise Science (CSES)
Funder NameGrant NumberFunder ID
Sheffield Hallam UniversityUNSPECIFIED
University of SheffieldUNSPECIFIED
Publisher of the data: SHU Research Data Archive (SHURDA)
Publication date: 2 October 2018
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