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1.  Type of vegetarian diet, obesity and diabetes in adult Indian population 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13(1):89.
To investigate the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among adult men and women in India consuming different types of vegetarian diets compared with those consuming non-vegetarian diets.
We used cross-sectional data of 156,317 adults aged 20–49 years who participated in India’s third National Family Health Survey (2005–06). Association between types of vegetarian diet (vegan, lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian and non-vegetarian) and self-reported diabetes status and measured body mass index (BMI) were estimated using multivariable logistic regression adjusting for age, gender, education, household wealth, rural/urban residence, religion, caste, smoking, alcohol use, and television watching.
Mean BMI was lowest in pesco-vegetarians (20.3 kg/m2) and vegans (20.5 kg/m2) and highest in lacto-ovo vegetarian (21.0 kg/m2) and lacto-vegetarian (21.2 kg/m2) diets. Prevalence of diabetes varied from 0.9% (95% CI: 0.8-1.1) in person consuming lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian (95% CI:0.6-1.3) and semi-vegetarian (95% CI:0.7-1.1) diets and was highest in those persons consuming a pesco-vegetarian diet (1.4%; 95% CI:1.0-2.0). Consumption of a lacto- (OR:0.67;95% CI:0.58-0.76;p < 0.01), lacto-ovo (OR:0.70; 95% CI:0.51-0.96;p = 0.03) and semi-vegetarian (OR:0.77; 95% CI:0.60-0.98; p = 0.03) diet was associated with a lower likelihood of diabetes than a non-vegetarian diet in the adjusted analyses.
In this large, nationally representative sample of Indian adults, lacto-, lacto-ovo and semi-vegetarian diets were associated with a lower likelihood of diabetes. These findings may assist in the development of interventions to address the growing burden of overweight/obesity and diabetes in Indian population. However, prospective studies with better measures of dietary intake and clinical measures of diabetes are needed to clarify this relationship.
PMCID: PMC4168165  PMID: 25192735
Vegetarian diets; Diabetes; Obesity; Men; Women; NFHS-3; India
2.  Vegetarian diets and incidence of diabetes in the Adventist Health Study-2 
To evaluate the relationship of diet to incident diabetes among non-Black and Black participants in the Adventist Health Study-2.
Methods and Results
Participants were 15,200 men and 26,187 women (17.3% Blacks) across the U.S. and Canada who were free of diabetes and who provided demographic, anthropometric, lifestyle and dietary data. Participants were grouped as vegan, lacto ovo vegetarian, pesco vegetarian, semi-vegetarian or non-vegetarian (reference group). A follow-up questionnaire after two years elicited information on the development of diabetes. Cases of diabetes developed in 0.54% of vegans, 1.08% of lacto ovo vegetarians, 1.29% of pesco vegetarians, 0.92% of semi-vegetarians and 2.12% of non-vegetarians. Blacks had an increased risk compared to non-Blacks (odds ratio [OR] 1.364; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.093–1.702). In multiple logistic regression analysis controlling for age, gender, education, income, television watching, physical activity, sleep, alcohol use, smoking and BMI, vegans (OR 0.381; 95% CI 0.236–0.617), lacto ovo vegetarians (OR 0.618; 95% CI 0.503–0.760) and semi-vegetarians (OR 0.486, 95% CI 0.312–0.755) had a lower risk of diabetes than non-vegetarians. In non-Blacks vegan, lacto ovo and semi-vegetarian diets were protective against diabetes (OR 0.429, 95% CI 0.249–0.740; OR 0.684, 95% CI 0.542–0.862; OR 0.501, 95% CI 0.303–0.827); among Blacks vegan and lacto ovo vegetarian diets were protective (OR 0.304, 95% CI 0.110–0.842; OR 0.472, 95% CI 0.270–0.825). These associations were strengthened when BMI was removed from the analyses.
Vegetarian diets (vegan, lacto ovo, semi-) were associated with a substantial and independent reduction in diabetes incidence. In Blacks the dimension of the protection associated with vegetarian diets was as great as the excess risk associated with Black ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC3638849  PMID: 21983060
Vegetarianism; Black; African American; Diabetes; Ethnicity; Diet
3.  Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2 
JAMA internal medicine  2013;173(13):1230-1238.
Some evidence suggests vegetarian dietary patterns may be associated with reduced mortality, but the relationship is not well established.
To evaluate the association between vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality.
Prospective cohort study; mortality analysis by Cox proportional hazards regression, controlling for important demographic and lifestyle confounders.
Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2), a large North American cohort.
A total of 96 469 Seventh-day Adventist men and women recruited between 2002 and 2007, from which an analytic sample of 73 308 participants remained after exclusions.
Diet was assessed at baseline by a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and categorized into 5 dietary patterns: nonvegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo–vegetarian, and vegan.
Main Outcome and Measure
The relationship between vegetarian dietary patterns and all-cause and cause-specific mortality; deaths through 2009 were identified from the National Death Index.
There were 2570 deaths among 73 308 participants during a mean follow-up time of 5.79 years. The mortality rate was 6.05 (95% CI, 5.82–6.29) deaths per 1000 person-years. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality in all vegetarians combined vs non-vegetarians was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.80–0.97). The adjusted HR for all-cause mortality in vegans was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.73–1.01); in lacto-ovo–vegetarians, 0.91 (95% CI, 0.82–1.00); in pesco-vegetarians, 0.81 (95% CI, 0.69–0.94); and in semi-vegetarians, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.75–1.13) compared with nonvegetarians. Significant associations with vegetarian diets were detected for cardiovascular mortality, noncardiovascular noncancer mortality, renal mortality, and endocrine mortality. Associations in men were larger and more often significant than were those in women.
Conclusions and Relevance
Vegetarian diets are associated with lower all-cause mortality and with some reductions in cause-specific mortality. Results appeared to be more robust in males. These favorable associations should be considered carefully by those offering dietary guidance.
PMCID: PMC4191896  PMID: 23836264
4.  Vegetarian diets and cardiovascular risk factors in black members of the Adventist Health Study-2 
Public health nutrition  2014;18(3):537-545.
To compare cardiovascular risk factors between vegetarians and non-vegetarians in black individuals living in the USA.
A cross-sectional analysis of a sub-set of 592 black women and men enrolled in the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) cohort of Seventh-day Adventists.
Members of the AHS-2 cohort, who lived in all states of the USA and provinces of Canada.
Black/African-American members of two sub-studies of AHS-2 where blood and physiological measurements were obtained.
Of these women and men, 25% were either vegan or lacto-ovo-vegetarians (labelled ‘vegetarian/vegans’), 13 % were pesco-vegetarian and 62% were non-vegetarian. Compared with non-vegetarians, the vegetarian/vegans had odds ratios for hypertension, diabetes, high blood total cholesterol and high blood LDL-cholesterol of 0·56 (95% CI 0·36, 0·87), 0·48 (95% CI 0·24, 0·98), 0·42 (95% CI 0·27, 0·65) and 0·54 (95% CI 0·33, 0·89), respectively, when adjusted for age, gender, education, physical activity and sub-study. Corresponding odds ratios for obesity in vegetarian/vegans and pesco-vegetarians, compared with non-vegetarians, were 0·43 (95% CI 0·28, 0·67) and 0·47 (95% CI 0·27, 0·81), respectively; and for abdominal obesity 0·54 (95% CI 0·36, 0·82) and 0·50 (95% CI 0·29, 0·84), respectively. Results for pesco-vegetarians did not differ significantly from those of non-vegetarians for other variables. Further adjustment for BMI suggested that BMI acts as an intermediary variable between diet and both hypertension and diabetes.
As with non-blacks, these results suggest that there are sizeable advantages to a vegetarian diet in black individuals also, although a cross-sectional analysis cannot conclusively establish cause.
PMCID: PMC4167463  PMID: 24636393
Vegetarian diet; Cardiovascular risks; Blacks; Adventists
5.  Utilization of Prostate Cancer Screening According to Dietary Patterns and Other Demographic Variables. The Adventist Health Study-2 
Journal of Cancer  2013;4(5):416-426.
Background: Prostate-specific antigen test and digital rectal examination are considered important screening methods for early detection of prostate cancer. However, the utilization of prostate cancer screening varies widely and there is limited knowledge of the predictors of utilization.
Methods: Self-reported prostate cancer screening utilization within the last 2 years was investigated among 11,162 black and non-black North American Seventh-day Adventist men, aged 50-75 years, with different dietary patterns and lifestyle characteristics.
Results: Blacks were more likely to screen for prostate cancer than non-blacks (Odds Ratio (OR)=1.38 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20-1.57).
Those with a vegetarian diet, especially vegans, were less likely to follow screening guidelines, particularly among non-Blacks: vegans (OR=0.47, 0.39-0.58), lacto-ovo-vegetarians (OR=0.75, 0.66-0.86), and pesco-vegetarians (OR=0.74, 0.60-0.91) compared to non-vegetarians after adjusting for age, BMI, marital status, education, income, and family history of cancer. Trends for dietary patterns remained unchanged after stratification on age, family history of cancer, education, personal income, marital status, and BMI.
Among black men, diet patterns showed no significant associations with utilization of prostate cancer screening, although vegans tended to underutilize screening compared to non-vegetarians (OR=0.70, 0.44-1.10).
Conclusions: Vegetarians, especially non-black vegans, are less likely to follow recommended prostate cancer screening guidelines. The effect of diet was attenuated, and not statistically significant, among black men.
Impact: Since only about 60% of US men follow prostate cancer screening guidelines, it is important to study reasons for non-compliance in order to increase utilization of preventive measures against prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3701811  PMID: 23833686
PSA; digital rectal exam; prostate cancer screening; lifestyle predictors; dietary pattern; vegetarian; vegan; black men.
6.  Vegetarian diets and blood pressure among white subjects: results from the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) 
Public health nutrition  2012;15(10):1909-1916.
Previous work studying vegetarians has often found that they have lower blood pressure (BP). Reasons may include their lower BMI and higher intake levels of fruit and vegetables. Here we seek to extend this evidence in a geographically diverse population containing vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores.
Data are analysed from a calibration sub-study of the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) cohort who attended clinics and provided validated FFQ. Criteria were established for vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, partial vegetarian and omnivorous dietary patterns.
Clinics were conducted at churches across the USA and Canada. Dietary data were gathered by mailed questionnaire.
Five hundred white subjects representing the AHS-2 cohort.
Covariate-adjusted regression analyses demonstrated that the vegan vegetarians had lower systolic and diastolic BP (mmHg) than omnivorous Adventists (β =−6·8, P<0·05 and β = −6·9, P<0·001). Findings for lacto-ovo vegetarians (β = −9·1, P<0·001 and β = −5·8, P<0·001) were similar. The vegetarians (mainly the vegans) were also less likely to be using antihypertensive medications. Defining hypertension as systolic BP > 139 mmHg or diastolic BP > 89 mmHg or use of antihypertensive medications, the odds ratio of hypertension compared with omnivores was 0·37 (95 % CI 0·19, 0·74), 0·57 (95 % CI 0·36, 0·92) and 0·92 (95 % CI 0·50, 1·70), respectively, for vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians and partial vegetarians. Effects were reduced after adjustment for BMI.
We conclude from this relatively large study that vegetarians, especially vegans, with otherwise diverse characteristics but stable diets, do have lower systolic and diastolic BP and less hypertension than omnivores. This is only partly due to their lower body mass.
PMCID: PMC3443300  PMID: 22230619
Vegetarian diet; Blood pressure
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US. Dietary factors account for at least 30% of all cancers in Western countries. Since people do not consume individual foods but rather combinations of them, the assessment of dietary patterns may offer valuable information when determining associations between diet and cancer risk.
We examined the association between dietary patterns (non-vegetarians, lacto, pesco, vegan, and semi-vegetarian) and the overall cancer incidence among 69,120 participants of the Adventist Health Study-2. Cancer cases were identified by matching to cancer registries. Cox-proportional hazard regression analysis was performed to estimate hazard ratios, with “attained age” as the time variable.
2,939 incident cancer cases were identified. The multivariate HR of overall cancer risk among vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians was statistically significant (HR=0.92; 95%CI: 0.85, 0.99) for both genders combined. Also, a statistically significant association was found between vegetarian diet and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract (HR=0.76; 95%CI: 0.63, 0.90). When analyzing the association of specific vegetarian dietary patterns, vegan diets showed statistically significant protection for overall cancer incidence (HR=0.84; 95%CI: 0.72, 0.99) in both genders combined and for female-specific cancers (HR=0.66; 95%CI: 0.47, 0.92). Lacto-ovo-vegetarians appeared to be associated with decreased risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal system (HR=0.75; 95%CI: 0.60, 0.92).
Vegetarian diets seem to confer protection against cancer.
Vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall and female-specific cancer compared to other dietary patterns. The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets seem to confer protection from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
PMCID: PMC3565018  PMID: 23169929
cancer; vegetarian dietary patterns; diet; vegan; lacto-ovo-vegetarians
8.  Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts 
Nutrients  2014;6(6):2131-2147.
Vegetarians, those who avoid meat, and vegans, additionally avoiding dairy and eggs, represent 5% and 2%, respectively, of the US population. The aim of this review is to assess the effects of vegetarian diets, particularly strict vegetarian diets (i.e., vegans) on health and disease outcomes. We summarized available evidence from three prospective cohorts of Adventists in North America: Adventist Mortality Study, Adventist Health Study, and Adventist Health Study-2. Non-vegetarian diets were compared to vegetarian dietary patterns (i.e., vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian) on selected health outcomes. Vegetarian diets confer protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality. Compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets, vegan diets seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality. Males experience greater health benefits than females. Limited prospective data is available on vegetarian diets and body weight change. Large randomized intervention trials on the effects of vegetarian diet patterns on neurological and cognitive functions, obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular outcomes are warranted to make meaningful recommendations.
PMCID: PMC4073139  PMID: 24871675
vegetarian; vegan; lacto-ovo-vegetarian; Adventist; Health; AMS; AHS; cardiovascular; cancer; mortality
9.  Nutrient Profiles of Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Dietary Patterns 
Differences in nutrient profiles between vegetarian and non vegetarian dietary patterns reflect nutritional differences that may contribute to the development of disease.
To compare nutrient intakes between dietary patterns characterized by consumption or exclusion of meat and dairy products.
Cross-sectional study of 71751 subjects (mean age 59 years) from the Adventist-Health-Study-2. Data was collected between 2002 and 2007. Participants completed a 204-item validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Dietary patterns compared were: non vegetarian, semi vegetarian, pesco vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian and strict vegetarian. ANCOVA was used to analyze differences in nutrient intakes by dietary patterns and were adjusted for age, and sex and race. BMI and other relevant demographic data were reported and compared by dietary pattern using chi-square tests and ANOVA.
Many nutrient intakes varied significantly between dietary patterns. Non vegetarians had the lowest intakes of plant proteins, fiber, β-Carotene, and Mg than those following vegetarian dietary patterns and the highest intakes of saturated, trans, arachidonic, and docosahexaenoic fatty acids. The lower tails of some nutrient distributions in strict vegetarians suggested inadequate intakes by a portion of the subjects. Energy intake was similar among dietary patterns at close to 2000 kcal/d with the exception of semi vegetarians that had an intake of 1713 kcal/d. Mean BMI was highest in non-vegetarians (mean; standard deviation [SD]) (28.7; [6.4]) and lowest in strict vegetarians (24.0; [4.8]).
Nutrient profiles varied markedly between dietary patterns that were defined by meat and dairy intakes. These differences can be of interest in the etiology of obesity and chronic diseases.
PMCID: PMC4081456  PMID: 23988511
Dietary Pattern; Nutrient Profile; Vitamins; Minerals; Vegetarian
10.  Vegan diet and blood lipid profiles: a cross-sectional study of pre and postmenopausal women 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:55.
Vegan diet has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and mortality, partly due to its effects on serum lipid profiles. Lipid profiles [high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TG)] have not been fully elucidated either in pre and postmenopausal vegans or in ovo-lacto vegetarians. This study aimed to compare lipid profiles among vegans, ovo-lacto vegetarians and omnivores.
Demographic data and lipid profiles were obtained from the 2002 Taiwanese Survey on Hypertension, Hyperglycemia and Hyperlipidemia. Multivariate linear regression analysis was used to examine factors significantly and independently associated with different categories of veganism and to estimate the β value of lipid profiles in the dietary types.
A total of 2397 premenopausal and 1154 postmenopausal participants who did not receive lipid lowering drugs were enrolled. Premenopausal vegans had significantly lower HDL-C and higher TG, LDL-C/HDL-C, total cholesterol (TC)/HDL-C and TG/HDL-C compared with omnivores. For postmenopausal women, vegans had lower TC while ovo-lacto vegetarians were observed with low HDL-C when compared with omnivores. Multivariate linear regression analyses showed that vegan and ovo-lacto vegetarian diets decreased HDL-C levels in premenopausal women (β = -7.63, p = 0.001 and β = -4.87, p = 0.001, respectively). There were significant associations between lower LDL-C and ovo-lacto vegetarian diets (β = -7.14, p = 0.008) and also between TG and vegan diet (β = 23.37, p = 0.008), compared with omnivorous diet. Post-menopausal women reported to have consumed either a vegan or an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet were at the risk of having low HDL-C unlike those that consumed omnivorous diets (β = -4.88, p = 0.015 and β = -4.48, p = 0.047). There were no significant changes in LDL-C in both pre and postmenopausal vegans.
Vegan diet was associated with reduced HDL-C level. Because of its effects on lowering HDL-C and LDL-C, ovo-lacto vegetarian diet may be more appropriate for premenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3996202  PMID: 24712525
Vegan; Ovo-lacto vegetarian; HDL-C; LDL-C; Triglycerides
11.  Vegan Diets and Hypothyroidism 
Nutrients  2013;5(11):4642-4652.
Diets eliminating animal products have rarely been associated with hypothyroidism but may protect against autoimmune disease. Thus, we investigated whether risk of hypothyroidism was associated with vegetarian compared to omnivorous dietary patterns. The Adventist Health Study-2 was conducted among church members in North America who provided data in a self-administered questionnaire. Hypothyroidism was queried at baseline in 2002 and at follow-up to 2008. Diet was examined as a determinant of prevalent (n = 4237 of 65,981 [6.4%]) and incident cases (1184 of 41,212 [2.9%]) in multivariate logistic regression models, controlled for demographics and salt use. In the prevalence study, in addition to demographic characterstics, overweight and obesity increased the odds (OR 1.32, 95% CI: 1.22–1.42 and 1.78, 95% CI: 1.64–1.93, respectively). Vegan versus omnivorous diets tended to be associated with reduced risk (OR 0.89, 95% CI: 0.78–1.01, not statistically significant) while a lacto-ovo diet was associated with increased risk (OR 1.09, 95% CI: 1.01–1.18). In the incidence study, female gender, white ethnicity, higher education and BMI were predictors of hypothyroidism. Following a vegan diet tended to be protective (OR 0.78, 95% CI: 0.59–1.03, not statistically significant). In conclusion, a vegan diet tended to be associated with lower, not higher, risk of hypothyroid disease.
PMCID: PMC3847753  PMID: 24264226
vegan; hypothyroidism; diet; prevalence; incidence
12.  Comparison of Nutritional Quality of the Vegan, Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diet 
Nutrients  2014;6(3):1318-1332.
The number of studies comparing nutritional quality of restrictive diets is limited. Data on vegan subjects are especially lacking. It was the aim of the present study to compare the quality and the contributing components of vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian and omnivorous diets. Dietary intake was estimated using a cross-sectional online survey with a 52-items food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010) and the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) were calculated as indicators for diet quality. After analysis of the diet questionnaire and the FFQ, 1475 participants were classified as vegans (n = 104), vegetarians (n = 573), semi-vegetarians (n = 498), pesco-vegetarians (n = 145), and omnivores (n = 155). The most restricted diet, i.e., the vegan diet, had the lowest total energy intake, better fat intake profile, lowest protein and highest dietary fiber intake in contrast to the omnivorous diet. Calcium intake was lowest for the vegans and below national dietary recommendations. The vegan diet received the highest index values and the omnivorous the lowest for HEI-2010 and MDS. Typical aspects of a vegan diet (high fruit and vegetable intake, low sodium intake, and low intake of saturated fat) contributed substantially to the total score, independent of the indexing system used. The score for the more prudent diets (vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians) differed as a function of the used indexing system but they were mostly better in terms of nutrient quality than the omnivores.
PMCID: PMC3967195  PMID: 24667136
vegan; vegetarian; omnivore; diet quality; dietary pattern analysis
13.  Reduced Risk for Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance Associated with Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian Behavior in Female Buddhists: A Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71799.
The association of vegetarian status with the risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is not clear. In Asia, Buddhists often have vegetarian behavior for religious rather than for health reasons. We hypothesize that the vegetarian in Buddhism is associated with better metabolic profiles, lower risk for the MetS and insulin resistance (IR).
We enrolled 391 female vegetarians (∼80% lacto-ovo-vegetarians) and 315 non-vegetarians from health-checkup clinics at a Buddhist hospital in Taiwan.
The vegetarian status was associated with lower body mass index, smaller waist circumference, lower total cholesterol, lower low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), and lower HDL-C in multivariate linear regression analyses. Despite having lower HDL-C level, the vegetarians had significantly lower total cholesterol/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios. After adjusting the other covariates, the risks for the MetS were lower for ovo-lacto-vegetarians of 1–11 years and >11 years respectively by 54% (odds ratio [OR] = 0.46, 95%C.I.:0.26–0.79) and 57% (OR = 0.43, 95%C.I.:0.23–0.76) compared to non-vegetarians by the IDF criteria. Likewise, they were lower respectively by 45% (OR = 0.55, 95%C.I.:0.32–0.92) and 42% (OR = 0.58, 95%C.I.:0.33–0.997), for the MetS by the modified NCEP criteria. In the subgroup of non-diabetic subjects, the vegetarians also had lower risk for IR by HOMA compared to the non-vegetarians (OR = 0.71, 95%C.I.:0.48–1.06).
The vegetarian behavior, mainly lacto-ovo-vegetarian, related to Buddhism, although not meant for its health effects, is associated with reduced risk for the MetS and IR and may potentially provide metabolic and cardiovascular protective effects in women.
PMCID: PMC3739750  PMID: 23951247
14.  Beliefs and Attitudes toward Vegetarian Lifestyle across Generations 
Nutrients  2010;2(5):523-531.
The objective of the study was to examine whether reasons to adopt vegetarian lifestyle differ significantly among generations. Using a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), we identified that 4% of the participants were vegans, 25% lacto-ovo-vegetarians, 4% pesco-vegetarians and 67% non-vegetarian. Younger people significantly agreed more with the moral reason and with the environmental reason. People ages 41–60 significantly agreed more with the health reason. There are significant differences across generations as to why people choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle.
PMCID: PMC3257659  PMID: 22254039
vegetarians; vegetarian diets; dietary patterns; Adventists; attitude; beliefs
15.  The Same Microbiota and a Potentially Discriminant Metabolome in the Saliva of Omnivore, Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian and Vegan Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112373.
The salivary microbiota has been linked to both oral and non-oral diseases. Scant knowledge is available on the effect of environmental factors such as long-term dietary choices on the salivary microbiota and metabolome. This study analyzed the microbial diversity and metabolomic profiles of the saliva of 161 healthy individuals who followed an omnivore or ovo-lacto-vegetarian or vegan diet. A large core microbiota was identified, including 12 bacterial genera, found in >98% of the individuals. The subjects could be stratified into three “salivary types” that differed on the basis of the relative abundance of the core genera Prevotella, Streptococcus/Gemella and Fusobacterium/Neisseria. Statistical analysis indicated no effect of dietary habit on the salivary microbiota. Phylogenetic beta-diversity analysis consistently showed no differences between omnivore, ovo-lacto-vegetarian and vegan individuals. Metabolomic profiling of saliva using 1H-NMR and GC-MS/SPME identified diet-related biomarkers that enabled a significant discrimination between the 3 groups of individuals on the basis of their diet. Formate, urea, uridine and 5-methyl-3-hexanone could discriminate samples from omnivores, whereas 1-propanol, hexanoic acid and proline were characteristic of non-omnivore diets. Although the salivary metabolome can be discriminating for diet, the microbiota has a remarkable inter-individual stability and did not vary with dietary habits. Microbial homeostasis might be perturbed with sub-standard oral hygiene or other environmental factors, but there is no current indication that a choice of an omnivore, ovo-lacto-vegetarian or vegan diet can lead to a specific composition of the oral microbiota with consequences on the oral homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4221475  PMID: 25372853
16.  Lifestyle Decreases Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Diseases 
The morbidity and mortality of the cardiovascular diseases is high in the developed countries. The lifestyle changes are capable to decrease it by 50%. The aim of the present study was to measure the parameters of some risk factors before and after a one-week NEW START rehabilitative retreat. 1,349 volunteers, 320 men, 1,029 woman, mean age 51±14.5 (SD) years participated in 30 rehabilitative retreats from 1999–2006 in the Czech Republic, using a low-fat, low-energy, lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet and exercise, in a stress-free environment. Body weight, height, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, serum cholesterol and blood glucose were measured. Body weight decreased in 1,223 measured persons from 71.2±14.38 (SD) to 70.6±14.02 kg (p<0.0001), BMI (1,046 measured persons) from 25.1±4.60 (SD) to 24.8±4.49 (SD) kg/m2 (p<0.0001), systolic blood pressure (1,218 persons) from 129.8±23.02 (SD) to 123.8±21.52 (SD) mmHg (p<0.0001), diastolic blood pressure (1,210 persons) from 79.8±12.7 (SD) to 77.5±11.6 (SD) mmHg (p<0.0001), serum cholesterol (998 persons) from 4.86±0.95 (SD) to 4.32±0.77 (SD) mmol (p<0.0001), blood glucose (544 persons) from 4.31±1.59 (SD) to 3.88±1.33 (SD) mmol (p<0.0001). Heart rate was not significantly decreased. The parameters were lower in lacto-ovo vegetarians and Seventh-day Adventists than in controls who never observed the diet and avail the lifestyle programs. The parameters were nonsignificantly changed one year after finishing the retreat in the sample of 68 persons showing the positive effect of retreats. Our results showed, that the intake of a low-fat, low-energy diet, over the course of one week in a stress-free environment, had positive impact on the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC2745100  PMID: 19256282
cardiovascular diseases; decrease in risk factors; rehabilitative retreats; lifestyle; lacto-ovo vegetarians; Seventh-day Adventists
17.  The Prevalence and Risk Factors for Gallstone Disease in Taiwanese Vegetarians 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115145.
Gallstone disease (GSD) and its complications are major public health issues globally. Although many community-based studies had addressed the risk factors for GSD, little is known about GSD prevalence and risk factors among Taiwanese vegetarians.
This study included 1721 vegetarians who completed a questionnaire detailing their demographics, medical history, and life-styles. GSD was ascertained by ultrasonography or surgical history of cholecystectomy for GSD. The predictive probability of GSD for male and female vegetarians was estimated from the fitted model.
The prevalence of GSD was 8.2% for both male and female vegetarians. The risk of GSD is similar in men and women across all age groups, and increases steadily with increasing age. For male vegetarians, age (OR: 1.04; 95% CI: 1.00–1.08) and serum total bilirubin level (OR: 2.35; 95% CI: 1.31–4.22) predict risk for GSD. For female vegetarians, age (OR: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.05), BMI (OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01–1.13), and alcohol consumption (OR: 7.85; 95% CI: 1.83–33.73) are associated with GSD. GSD is not associated with type of vegetarian diet, duration of vegetarianism, low education level, physical inactivity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular accident, chronic renal failure, hepatitis C virus infection, and lipid abnormalities. GSD is also not associated with age at menarche, postmenopausal status, and multiparity in female vegetarians.
Risk factors useful for predicting GSD in vegetarians are (1) age and total bilirubin level in men, and (2) age, BMI, and alcohol consumption in women. Many previously identified risk factors for general population does not seem to apply to Taiwanese vegetarians.
PMCID: PMC4270735  PMID: 25521621
18.  Vegetarian Dietary Patterns Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(5):1225-1227.
The study objective was to compare dietary patterns in their relationship with metabolic risk factors (MRFs) and the metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Cross-sectional analysis of 773 subjects (mean age 60 years) from the Adventist Health Study 2 was performed. Dietary pattern was derived from a food frequency questionnaire and classified as vegetarian (35%), semi-vegetarian (16%), and nonvegetarian (49%). ANCOVA was used to determine associations between dietary pattern and MRFs (HDL, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, and waist circumference) while controlling for relevant cofactors. Logistic regression was used in calculating odds ratios (ORs) for MetS.
A vegetarian dietary pattern was associated with significantly lower means for all MRFs except HDL (P for trend < 0.001 for those factors) and a lower risk of having MetS (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.30–0.64, P < 0.001) when compared with a nonvegetarian dietary pattern.
A vegetarian dietary pattern is associated with a more favorable profile of MRFs and a lower risk of MetS. The relationship persists after adjusting for lifestyle and demographic factors.
PMCID: PMC3114510  PMID: 21411506
19.  Oestradiol and sex hormone-binding globulin in premenopausal and post-menopausal meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;80(9):1470-1475.
Endogenous oestradiol is strongly associated with breast cancer risk but its determinants are poorly understood. To test the hypothesis that vegetarians have lower plasma oestradiol and higher sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) than meat-eaters we assayed samples from 640 premenopausal women (153 meat-eaters, 382 vegetarians, 105 vegans) and 457 post-menopausal women (223 meat-eaters, 196 vegetarians, 38 vegans). Vegetarians and vegans had lower mean body mass indices (BMI) and lower plasma cholesterol concentrations than meat-eaters, but there were no statistically significant differences between meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in pre- or post-menopausal plasma concentrations of oestradiol or SHBG. Before adjusting for BMI there were small differences in the direction expected, with the vegetarians and vegans having higher SHBG and lower oestradiol (more noticeable amongst post-menopausal women) than the meat-eaters. These small differences were essentially eliminated by adjusting for BMI. Thus this study implies that the relatively low BMI of vegetarians and vegans does cause small changes in SHBG and in post-menopausal oestradiol, but that the composition of vegetarian diets may not have any additional effects on these hormones. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363084  PMID: 10424753
vegetarian; vegan; oestradiol; sex hormone-binding globulin; body mass index; breast cancer
20.  Vegan Diet, Subnormal Vitamin B-12 Status and Cardiovascular Health 
Nutrients  2014;6(8):3259-3273.
Vegetarian diets have been associated with atherosclerosis protection, with healthier atherosclerosis risk profiles, as well as lower prevalence of, and mortality from, ischemic heart disease and stroke. However, there are few data concerning the possible cardiovascular effects of a vegan diet (with no meat, dairy or egg products). Vitamin B-12 deficiency is highly prevalent in vegetarians; this can be partially alleviated by taking dairy/egg products in lact-ovo-vegetarians. However, metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency is highly prevalent in vegetarians in Australia, Germany, Italy and Austria, and in vegans (80%) in Hong Kong and India, where vegans rarely take vitamin B-12 fortified food or vitamin B-12 supplements. Similar deficiencies exist in northern Chinese rural communities consuming inadequate meat, egg or dairy products due to poverty or dietary habits. Vascular studies have demonstrated impaired arterial endothelial function and increased carotid intima-media thickness as atherosclerosis surrogates in such metabolic vitamin B-12 deficient populations, but not in lactovegetarians in China. Vitamin B-12 supplementation has a favourable impact on these vascular surrogates in Hong Kong vegans and in underprivileged communities in northern rural China. Regular monitoring of vitamin B-12 status is thus potentially beneficial for early detection and treatment of metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency in vegans, and possibly for prevention of atherosclerosis-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC4145307  PMID: 25195560
vegan diet; vitamin B-12 deficiency; atherosclerosis surrogates; cardiovascular health
21.  Diets and selected lifestyle practices of self-defined adult vegetarians from a population-based sample suggest they are more 'health conscious' 
Few population-based studies of vegetarians have been published. Thus we compared self-reported vegetarians to non-vegetarians in a representative sample of British Columbia (BC) adults, weighted to reflect the BC population.
Questionnaires, 24-hr recalls and anthropometric measures were completed during in-person interviews with 1817 community-dwelling residents, 19–84 years, recruited using a population-based health registry. Vegetarian status was self-defined. ANOVA with age as a covariate was used to analyze continuous variables, and chi-square was used for categorical variables. Supplement intakes were compared using the Mann-Whitney test.
Approximately 6% (n = 106) stated that they were vegetarian, and most did not adhere rigidly to a flesh-free diet. Vegetarians were more likely female (71% vs. 49%), single, of low-income status, and tended to be younger. Female vegetarians had lower BMI than non-vegetarians (23.1 ± 0.7 (mean ± SE) vs. 25.7 ± 0.2 kg/m2), and also had lower waist circumference (75.0 ± 1.5 vs. 79.8 ± 0.5 cm). Male vegetarians and non-vegetarians had similar BMI (25.9 ± 0.8 vs. 26.7 ± 0.2 kg/m2) and waist circumference (92.5 ± 2.3 vs. 91.7 ± 0.4 cm). Female vegetarians were more physically active (69% vs. 42% active ≥4/wk) while male vegetarians were more likely to use nutritive supplements (71% vs. 51%). Energy intakes were similar, but vegetarians reported higher % energy as carbohydrate (56% vs. 50%), and lower % protein (men only; 13% vs. 17%) or % fat (women only; 27% vs. 33%). Vegetarians had higher fiber, magnesium and potassium intakes. For several other nutrients, differences by vegetarian status differed by gender. The prevalence of inadequate magnesium intake (% below Estimated Average Requirement) was lower in vegetarians than non-vegetarians (15% vs. 34%). Female vegetarians also had a lower prevalence of inadequate thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and C intakes. Vegetarians were more likely than non-vegetarians to consider various health conditions and food/nutrition concerns when choosing foods.
In this population-based study, evidence was obtained to indicate that vegetarians appear more 'health conscious' than non-vegetarians, although specific differences were not always consistent by gender. Additional population-based studies are required to determine if the observed gender differences exist in other populations.
PMCID: PMC1090609  PMID: 15829014
Diet; vegetarian; Health behavior; Food habits; Health attitudes and behaviors.
22.  Comparisons of vegetarian and beef-containing diets on hematological indexes and iron stores during a period of resistive training in older men 
To test the hypothesis that older men who consumed a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) diet would develop a lower iron status compared with older men who consumed a beef-containing diet during a period of resistive training (RT).
Experimental, repeated measures study.
Twenty-one healthy men aged 59 to 78 years, with a BMI range of 24 to 33 kg/m2, completed the study.
All men consumed a vegetarian diet for 2 weeks (baseline). After this, the men were randomly assigned to one of two dietary groups. Eleven men consumed a beef-containing diet, and 10 men continued to consume a vegetarian diet for 12 weeks. During this time all subjects participated in RT three days per week, designated as RT1 to RT12.
Main outcome measures
Serum ferritin and serum iron concentrations, transferrin saturation, transferrin receptor, total iron binding capacity, and selected hematological variables, as well as selected nutrient intakes and estimated iron bioavailability from three-day diet records, were determined at baseline, RT5, and RT12.
Statistical analyses
A general linear model repeated-measures ANOVA was used to examine the effects of group, time, and group×time interactions for iron status and dietary data.
Total iron intake was not different between the two groups; however, the beef group had a three to four times greater intake of bioavailable iron (P<.01) than the vegetarian group. Serum iron, total iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation, and transferrin receptor were not significantly different between the beef and vegetarian groups, or changed over time with RT. Serum ferritin decreased over time in both the beef and vegetarian groups during RT (P<.01). Re-introduction of beef into the diets of the beef group increased hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit compared with the vegetarian group during the 12 weeks of RT (group×time, P<.05). These changes were within clinically normal limits.
Older men who consume a beef-containing, higher-bioavailable-iron diet, compared with a vegetarian, lower-bioavailable-iron diet, have an increased hematological profile during a 12-week period of RT. Older men who consume either a beef-containing or a vegetarian diet maintain a hematological profile within clinically normal limits during 12 weeks of RT.
PMCID: PMC2495081  PMID: 12728219
23.  The Association between a Vegetarian Diet and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors in India: The Indian Migration Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110586.
Studies in the West have shown lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among people taking a vegetarian diet, but these findings may be confounded and only a minority selects these diets. We evaluated the association between vegetarian diets (chosen by 35%) and CVD risk factors across four regions of India.
Study participants included urban migrants, their rural siblings and urban residents, of the Indian Migration Study from Lucknow, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Bangalore (n = 6555, mean age-40.9 yrs). Information on diet (validated interviewer-administered semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire), tobacco, alcohol, physical history, medical history, as well as blood pressure, fasting blood and anthropometric measurements were collected. Vegetarians ate no eggs, fish, poultry or meat. Using robust standard error multivariate linear regression models, we investigated the association of vegetarian diets with blood cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL), triglycerides, fasting blood glucose (FBG), systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP).
Vegetarians (32.8% of the study population) did not differ from non-vegetarians with respect to age, use of smokeless tobacco, body mass index, and prevalence of diabetes or hypertension. Vegetarians had a higher standard of living and were less likely to smoke, drink alcohol (p<0.0001) and were less physically active (p = 0.04). In multivariate analysis, vegetarians had lower levels of total cholesterol (β = −0.1 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.03 to −0.2), p = 0.006), triglycerides (β = −0.05 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.007 to −0.01), p = 0.02), LDL (β = −0.06 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.005 to −0.1), p = 0.03) and lower DBP (β = −0.7 mmHg (95% CI: −1.2 to −0.07), p = 0.02). Vegetarians also had decreases in SBP (β = −0.9 mmHg (95% CI: −1.9 to 0.08), p = 0.07) and FBG level (β = −0.07 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.2 to 0.01), p = 0.09) when compared to non-vegetarians.
We found beneficial association of vegetarian diet with cardiovascular risk factors compared to non-vegetarian diet.
PMCID: PMC4208768  PMID: 25343719
24.  Cancer in British vegetarians: updated analyses of 4998 incident cancers in a cohort of 32,491 meat eaters, 8612 fish eaters, 18,298 vegetarians, and 2246 vegans1234 
Background: Vegetarian diets might affect the risk of cancer.
Objective: The objective was to describe cancer incidence in vegetarians and nonvegetarians in a large sample in the United Kingdom.
Design: This was a pooled analysis of 2 prospective studies including 61,647 British men and women comprising 32,491 meat eaters, 8612 fish eaters, and 20,544 vegetarians (including 2246 vegans). Cancer incidence was followed through nationwide cancer registries. Cancer risk by vegetarian status was estimated by using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: After an average follow-up of 14.9 y, there were 4998 incident cancers: 3275 in meat eaters (10.1%), 520 in fish eaters (6.0%), and 1203 in vegetarians (5.9%). There was significant heterogeneity between dietary groups in risks of the following cancers: stomach cancer [RRs (95% CIs) compared with meat eaters: 0.62 (0.27, 1.43) in fish eaters and 0.37 (0.19, 0.69) in vegetarians; P-heterogeneity = 0.006], colorectal cancer [RRs (95% CIs): 0.66 (0.48, 0.92) in fish eaters and 1.03 (0.84, 1.26) in vegetarians; P-heterogeneity = 0.033], cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue [RRs (95% CIs): 0.96 (0.70, 1.32) in fish eaters and 0.64 (0.49, 0.84) in vegetarians; P-heterogeneity = 0.005], multiple myeloma [RRs (95% CIs): 0.77 (0.34, 1.76) in fish eaters and 0.23 (0.09, 0.59) in vegetarians; P-heterogeneity = 0.010], and all sites combined [RRs (95% CIs): 0.88 (0.80, 0.97) in fish eaters and 0.88 (0.82, 0.95) in vegetarians; P-heterogeneity = 0.0007].
Conclusion: In this British population, the risk of some cancers is lower in fish eaters and vegetarians than in meat eaters.
PMCID: PMC4144109  PMID: 24898235
25.  Serum Uric Acid Concentrations in Meat Eaters, Fish Eaters, Vegetarians and Vegans: A Cross-Sectional Analysis in the EPIC-Oxford Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56339.
Circulating concentrations of uric acid may be affected by dietary components such as meat, fish and dairy products, but only a few studies have compared uric acid concentrations among individuals who exclude some or all of these foods from their diet. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in serum uric acid concentrations between meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans.
Subjects and Methods
A sample of 670 men and 1,023 women (424 meat eaters, 425 fish eaters, 422 vegetarians and 422 vegans, matched on age and sex) from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Oxford cohort were included in this cross-sectional analysis. Diet was assessed using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire and serum concentrations of uric acid were measured. Mean concentrations of uric acid by diet group were calculated after adjusting for age, body mass index, calcium and alcohol intake.
In both men and women, serum uric acid concentrations differed significantly by diet group (p<0.0001 and p = 0.01, respectively). The differences between diet groups were most pronounced in men; vegans had the highest concentration (340, 95% confidence interval 329–351 µmol/l), followed by meat eaters (315, 306–324 µmol/l), fish eaters (309, 300–318 µmol/l) and vegetarians (303, 294–312 µmol/l). In women, serum uric acid concentrations were slightly higher in vegans (241, 234–247 µmol/l) than in meat eaters (237, 231–242 µmol/l) and lower in vegetarians (230, 224–236 µmol/l) and fish eaters (227, 221–233 µmol/l).
Individuals consuming a vegan diet had the highest serum concentrations of uric acid compared to meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians, especially in men. Vegetarians and individuals who eat fish but not meat had the lowest concentrations of serum uric acid.
PMCID: PMC3572016  PMID: 23418557

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