Rapid reduction of serum cholesterol and blood pressure by a twelve-day, very low fat, strictly vegetarian diet

J Am Coll Nutr. 1995 Oct;14(5):491-6. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1995.10718541.


Objective: This study was conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of a strictly vegetarian, very low-fat diet on cardiac risk factor modification.

Methods: Five hundred men and women, participants in an intensive 12-day live-in program, were studied. The program focused on dietary modification, moderate exercise, and stress management at a hospital-based health-center.

Results: During this short time period, cardiac risk factors improved: there was an average reduction of total serum cholesterol of 11% (p < 0.001), of blood pressure of 6% (p < 0.001) and a weight loss of 2.5 kg for men and 1 kg for women. Serum triglycerides did not increase except for two subgroups: females age > or = 65 years with serum cholesterol < 6.5 mmol/L and for females 50 to 64 years with baseline serum cholesterol between 5.2-6.5 mmol/L. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol measured on 66 subjects decreased by 19%.

Conclusion: A strict, very low-fat vegetarian diet free from all animal products combined with lifestyle changes that include exercise and weight loss is an effective way to lower serum cholesterol and blood pressure.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy
  • Hypercholesterolemia / therapy*
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / diet therapy
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Residential Treatment
  • Weight Loss


  • Cholesterol