Vegetarians have Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disorders that are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The disorders generally include high blood pressure, triglycerides, waist circumference, blood sugar, and low HDL cholesterol.
Cross-sectional data of 773 subjects from the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS2) showed that, when compared to regular meat-eaters, vegetarians (those eating meat or fish less than 1 time per month) had a 56% lower rate of metabolic syndrome (0.44, 0.30-0.64). Adjustments were made for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, and caloric intake.
Semi-vegetarians (defined as consuming fish at any frequency but consuming other meats ≥ 1 time per month but < 1 time/week), had an intermediate rate (specific data not reported).
It was somewhat disturbing (though not completely surprising given a previous report from the AHS2) to see that although the vegetarians had the lowest average body mass index of the three groups, even theirs would be considered overweight at 25.7 kg/m2 (healthy is considered to be 20.0 to 25.0).
Thanks, Matt and Dima.
Rizzo NS, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fraser GE. Vegetarian Dietary Patterns Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome: The Adventist Health Study 2. Diabetes Care. 2011 Mar 16. (Link)