Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DGMC medical study looks at plant-based diet

Image of Man wearing mask and gloves putting container of salad into salad bar. Click to open a larger version of the image. Navy Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Keith Johnson preps another healthy meal for the salad bar at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s galley. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Nutritional Fitness

David Grant USAF Medical Center (DGMC) researchers recently completed a meal study focused on a plant-based diet versus an omnivorous diet in conjunction with support from the University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.

The study specifically looked at how a boxed meal kit (e.g. Purple Carrot, etc) facilitated plant-based diet (f-PBD) improves markers of heart health including a reduction in low density lipoproteins (LDL-c) and weight as compared to a standard omnivorous diet (f-SOD).

Thirty-two otherwise healthy, but overweight military beneficiaries were enrolled in the study. While they normally consumed an omnivorous diet, for the study they voluntarily followed either a plant-based diet or maintain their baseline standard omnivorous diet for a duration of 4-weeks. Volunteers consumed breakfast and lunch on their own based on their chosen diet group. Dinner was facilitated by a plant-based or a popular non-plant-based boxed meal kit to the plant-based and standard omnivorous groups respectively.

Researchers measured important cholesterol, weight and blood pressure markers at baseline and at 4-weeks. Participants were encouraged to maintain baseline activity throughout the duration of the trial which was also assessed by commercially available activity trackers.

Presented at the American Heart Association 2020 Scientific Sessions in mid-November, the study found that on average participants in the f-PBD group had a significant reduction in LDL-c from baseline as compared to an increase from baseline in the f-SOD group.

Low density lipoprotein, also commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol, contributes to accumulation of fat within arteries causing atherosclerosis. According to the American Heart Association, as LDL-c values increase and continue to build plaque within the arteries, blood vessels narrow which in turn reduces blood flow and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to vital areas of the body. This accumulation and narrowing increases risk factors for potential cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

Likewise, the study found a significant reduction in weight from baseline in the f-PBD group compared to an increase in weight observed with the f-SOD group. Participants in the plant-based group had a 3.82-pound reduction in weight from baseline compared to a 0.87-pound weight gain in the omnivorous group.

“As a physician, I promote the adoption of a plant-based diet. This study provides data that switching to a plant-based diet is heart healthy and the use of a meal kit can facilitate that transition,” said Air Force Capt. Amanda Keller, lead author and DGMC family medicine resident.

This study was important as a previous meta-analysis published in the Journal of American Medicine Association Internal Medicine demonstrated that long term compliance to an increasingly plant-based diet supports overall good health.

“Mission readiness is of uttermost priority to the U.S. Air Force and we are committed to doing the research needed to optimize the health of our troops,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy, director of DGMC’s Clinical Investigation Facility. 

This study was supported by the Clinical Investigation Facility and faculty from the University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.

You also may be interested in...

Quality of Life

Video
1/5/2022
Quality of Life

Nearly half of people making resolutions for the new year are resolving to lose weight. While there are several long-term benefits to losing weight - avoiding or managing other chronic health conditions among them - losing just a little bit of weight right now can have immediate effects on your quality of life. From less joint pain to more energy to better sleep, you can start seeing and feeling the benefits of healthy weight loss nearly right away. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Safe and Effective Weight Loss

Video
1/5/2022
Safe and Effective Weight Loss

If you're resolving to lose weight in 2022, make sure to do it safely by avoiding crash and yo-yo diets. Talk to your doctor to make a plan for the safest and most effective way for you to manage a healthy weight in 2022. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement for even more tips.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Nutritional Fitness | Physical Fitness

MHS Minute May 2021

Video
5/28/2021
MHS Minute May 2021

In this month's MHS Minute, the DHA's commitment to transforming military health continues. The DHA officially established the Tidewater market in SE Virginia, serving over 200,000 patients. The MHS is standing up 19 markets like Tidewater to allow healthcare providers to better meet the needs of their patients by improving coordination between facilities in the area.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Health Readiness | MHS GENESIS

Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

Video
2/17/2021
Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

The Military Health System is reintroducing Total Force Fitness. The Total Force Fitness concept focuses on a service member’s entire health throughout their career, connecting eight dimensions of fitness to optimize health, performance, and readiness holistically.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Environmental Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Social Fitness | Financial Fitness | Health Tools

Moments in Military Medicine: Blood Donations on the Battlefield

Video
2/4/2020
Moments in Military Medicine: Blood Donations on the Battlefield

Since January was National Blood Donor Month, learn more about the history of blood donations on the battlefield and the incredible work of the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP).

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Armed Services Blood Program | Military Medical History | National Museum of Health and Medicine

MHS Minute September 2018

Video
9/21/2018
MHS Minute September 2018

Interested in hearing about some exciting events that took place around the Military Health System last month? Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Patriot Warrior 2017 - Moulage

Video
10/5/2017
Patriot Warrior 2017 - Moulage

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rose Jane Schoenwandt, 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Caleb Boles, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, discuss the importance of moulage during Patriot Warrior.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

USNS Mercy: Deployable Medical Center

Video
4/11/2017
USNS Mercy: Deployable Medical Center

U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners explain the mission of the USNS Mercy and its capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety

Trauma Innovations

Video
3/23/2017
Trauma Innovations

Hemorrhage is responsible for 91.5 percent of potentially survivable battlefield deaths. From 2001 to 2011, an estimated 24 percent of combat deaths occurred before patients reached a treatment facility; the major cause of death was blood loss. Battlefield trauma innovations like the occlusion balloon catheter and freeze-dried plasma will enhance the Joint Forces' current capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | French Freeze-Dried Plasma Use in the DOD

Air Force Nurse Key Asset to Army Medevac

Video
3/22/2017
Air Force Nurse Key Asset to Army Medevac

U.S. Air Force Maj. Sandra Nestor, tactical critical care evacuation team nurse, is assigned to the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-149 General Support Aviation Battalion Medevac. Medevac teams specialize in moving and treating U.S. and coalition forces who are injured and risk dying without immediate emergency care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise

Video
3/7/2017
Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise

The Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) team is comprised of 26 U.S. military personnel and several host nation physicians who have partnered together to train medical teams in preparation for deployment. During the MEDRETE, the teams are able to improve the eyesight of more than 250 Panamanian patients during the two-week training exercise. The goal is to provide medical care that benefits the people of Panama, while building relationships with the accompanying Panamanian medical professionals.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness |

Any clime and place: Sailors bring hospital knowledge to the field

Video
5/19/2016
Any clime and place: Sailors bring hospital knowledge to the field

Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion got out of their comfort zone and conducted a week-long training exercise known as a Health Service Augmentation Program at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 18-22, 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Racing to save lives at Steel Knight

Video
12/28/2015
Racing to save lives at Steel Knight

Corpsmen and Marines rehearsed life-saving skills during Exercise Steel Knight’s mass casualty drill, Dec. 12, 2015. Steel Knight provides tough, realistic training for the Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness
Showing results 1 - 13 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.