An effective lifestyle strategy to reduce cardiovascular diseases risk (CVD) factors is needed. We examined the effects of a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle program on dietary intake and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors in 151 adults (mean 39.6 (SD 12.5) years). Adherence was categorised into short-, medium- and long-term (years: (0.5-<2), (2-<5) and (5-10)), for both genders separately. Dietary intakes were assessed, fasting blood lipids and blood pressure (BP) were measured, and % participants reaching guideline recommended targets for LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and BP in the primary CVD prevention was assessed. There were no statistically significant differences in intakes of energy and most nutrients among participants (both genders), that were short-, medium- and long term in our program. Diet was mainly composed of unprocessed vegetables/fruits, whole grains, legumes, potatoes, and nuts/seeds. LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic BP were within targets for: 93%, 97%, 88% and 95% participants, respectively. In females (vs. males), total- and HDL-cholesterol were higher (mean): 3.8 (SD 0.7) vs. 3.4 (SD 0.9), p = 0.002 and 1.5 (SD 0.3) vs. 1.1 (SD 0.2) mmol/L, p < 0.001), systolic BP was lower (113 (SD 11) vs. 120 (SD 10) mmHg, p = 0.001), while there was no difference in diastolic BP (71 (SD 9) vs. 72 (SD 8) mmHg, p = 0.143). More females vs. males reached target triglycerides (99% vs. 91%, p = 0.021) and systolic BP (92% vs. 79%, p = 0.046), while similar females and males reached target LDL-cholesterol (94% vs. 91%, p = 0.500) and diastolic BP (93% vs. 100%, p = 0.107). Participation in our WFPB lifestyle program is associated with favourable dietary intakes, safety markers, and CV risk factor profiles.
Keywords: blood lipids; blood pressure; cardiovascular health; lifestyle; nutrition; plant-based diet; vegan diet.