A very-low-fat vegan diet increases intake of protective dietary factors and decreases intake of pathogenic dietary factors

J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Feb;108(2):347-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.10.044.


There is increasing evidence that dietary factors in plant-based diets are important in the prevention of chronic disease. This study examined protective (eg, antioxidant vitamins, carotenoids, and fiber) and pathogenic (eg, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol) dietary factors in a very-low-fat vegan diet. Ninety-three early-stage prostate cancer patients participated in a randomized controlled trial and were assigned to a very-low-fat (10% fat) vegan diet supplemented with soy protein and lifestyle changes or to usual care. Three-day food records were collected at baseline (n=42 intervention, n=43 control) and after 1 year (n=37 in each group). Analyses of changes in dietary intake of macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and isoflavones from baseline to 1 year showed significantly increased intake of most protective dietary factors (eg, fiber increased from a mean of 31 to 59 g/day, lycopene increased from 8,693 to 34,464 mug/day) and significantly decreased intake of most pathogenic dietary factors (eg, saturated fatty acids decreased from 20 to 5 g/day, cholesterol decreased from 200 to 10 mg/day) in the intervention group compared to controls. These results suggest that a very-low-fat vegan diet can be useful in increasing intake of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and minimizing intake of dietary factors implicated in several chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Nutritive Value
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Isoflavones
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Carotenoids