A report published in October in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that patients with Peripheral Heart Disease (PAD) who also ate animal products substantially increased their risk of early death. The study focused on 821 patients with PAD—a type of heart disease affecting 85 million Americans which is caused by fat accumulation in the arteries of the legs, arms, head, or abdomen. Researchers identified that the consumption of meat and eggs creates a digestive byproduct called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), the presence of which, when found in participants’ gut bacteria, nearly triples the chances of PAD patients dying within five years. Lead researcher Dr. W.H. Wilson Tang advised that patients with high levels of TMAO who consume animal products receive “more aggressive and specific dietary and medical therapy,” adding, “Vegetarians or vegans or those who eat a Mediterranean diet, however, have lower TMAO levels.” Over 70 percent of deaths are linked to dietary choices, according to a recent comprehensive study entitled “The Global Burden of Disease,” and plant-based diets have been proven to improve heart health and aid in weight loss.