Claim: According to Esselstyn, a purely plant-based diet can help revert coronary diseases.
Esselstyn conducted a study to see the effects of a plant-based diet on coronary diseases.
The study can be found online on Esselstyn’s website. He conducted the study along with Ellis, Medendorp and Crowe. Let us take a look at the study itself to see why it is not a completely reliable source to back this claim. The documentary states that four people regressed their disease. However, the documentary is extremely confusing as to the total number of participants. Initially, it states that there were twenty-two participants. Then we are told that five dropped out of the study. It goes on to say that the disease’s progression stopped in eleven people and was reversed in four people.
When we look at the actual paper we see the numbers were slightly different. For starters after the initial five dropped, another six participants never returned to finish the study. This meant that that there were a total of eleven participants left. It was out of these eleven participants that remained that four participant’s disease reversed. Since there was some regression in the heart disease technically it can be said that there is a correlation between a plan-based diet and reversal of coronary diseases. These are not particularly high numbers and not enough to substantiate any claim. In addition, more importantly correlation does not mean causation. The study only showed that there was a correlation between the two not that one was the direct result of the other.