The carotid arteries of sedentary plant-based vegans appear healthier than those of just as slim long-distance endurance athletes who’ve run an average of 4000 kilometers per year.
In the video posted above, you can see the thickness of the inner wall of the carotid arteries where the atherosclerotic plaque builds up in the standard American diet group.
This same inner layer was significantly slimmer in vegans, but so were the vegans themselves. Those eating the standard American diet were, on average, overweight with a BMI over 26 while the vegans were a trim 21—about 36 pounds lighter on average.
So maybe the only reason those eating meat, eggs, and dairy had thickened arterial walls was because they were overweight—maybe the diet per se had nothing to do with it. To solve the riddle one would have to find a group of people still eating the standard American diet, but as slim as vegans. To find a group that trim, researchers had to use long-distance endurance athletes, who ate the standard American diet, but ran an average of 77 kilometers per week for 21 years. The vegans were sedentary and performed less than an hour of exercise in a week.
As you can see in the video, the average thickness of endurance runners’ carotid arteries is between that of sedentary vegans and omnivores. It appears that if we run an average of about few thousand kilometers every year we can rival some couch potato vegans.