Rainbow Diet

Heart risk reduced by switching to Mediterranean diet

Changing to a colourful Mediterranean diet, or a Rainbow Diet as we call it, with its emphasis on plant-based food like vegetables, olives, nuts and seeds, and fish, has been shown in a meta-analysis to reduce cardiovascular risk considerably.

The Journal of the American Heart Association reports that simply switching one meat meal for a plant-based meal per week can reduce risk of heart attacks. In a meta-study of 112 randomised, controlled studies (1) the researchers showed that swapping animal fats for plant-based foods reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Observing the effects on three markers for cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad’ cholesterol), high density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) and apolipoprotein B, a specific protein found in bad cholesterol that clogs arteries, they concluded that just substituting one or two meat or dairy meals with plant-based foods slashed the risk of heart disease. High-fibre foods had a further helpful effect.

Chris Woollams, the Oxford Biochemist who wrote the original Rainbow Diet book back in 2005 when there was little research said, “We are seeing an increasing interest in plant-based diets rather than typical meat based diets. Saturated fat consumption lies behind cancer spread for example and people are starting to recognise these facts. Back in 2005 my book was ground-breaking as I was arguing that health was definitely not about high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets. It was about real food, good fats like olive oil, whole carbohydrates and the ability of colourful vegetables and fruits to protect and correct. That’s the Rainbow Diet. Now people really are getting the message.”

This was also stressed by lead researcher Dr. John Sievenpiper who said, “This comprehensive analysis of the highest level of evidence from randomised trials provides us with more confidence that these diets are heart healthy”

Go to: The Rainbow Diet


  1. Siying S. Li, Sonia Blanco Mejia, Lyubov Lytvyn, Sarah E. Stewart, Effie Viguiliouk, Vanessa Ha, Russell J. de Souza, Lawrence A. Leiter, Cyril W. C. Kendall, David J. A. Jenkins, John L. Sievenpiper

Show More
Back to top button