Having a plant-based dinner cuts risk of developing heart disease

HARBIN, China — Need a good reason to pass on the bacon-topped burger? People who eat a plant-based dinner could reduce their risk of heart disease by 10 percent, according to a new study.

Researchers from Harbin Medical University in China show that people who eat too many refined carbs and fatty meats for dinner have a higher risk of heart disease than those who eat a similar diet for breakfast. Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, stroke and congestive heart failure, are the top cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.

Eating lots of saturated fat, processed meats — such as bacon, burgers and chicken nuggets — as well as added sugars can raise cholesterol and increase a person’s risk of heart disease. However, a heart-healthy diet with more whole carbohydrates, such as vegetables and grains, and less meat can significantly offset the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Now, scientists say the timing of meals is also a key factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. “Meal timing along with food quality are important factors to consider when looking for ways to lower your risk of heart disease,” says study author Ying Li, in a statement. “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.

Having a plant-based dinner more important than going healthy for breakfast

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

The researchers studied more than 27,000 American adults’ diets, analyzing dietary information collected during interviews with the participants over two non-consecutive days. They examined the association between eating different fats, carbs and proteins at breakfast or dinner with the participants’ rates of heart disease.

The analysis shows that eating a plant-based dinner reduced heart disease risk by 10 percent.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

SWNS writer William Janes contributed to this report.