NEWS2U Health & Wellness
Living Healthy in an Unhealthy World

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegetarian diet helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and stroke

by David Lui, PhD

A new study suggests vegetarians are less likely than non-vegetarians to develop metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. This means a plant-based diet may help prevent these diseases and vascular events.

The study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed vegetarians were 36 percent less likely  to suffer metabolic syndrome, compared with those who ate meat.

Metabolic syndrome is a set of at least three of the five risk factors including high blood pressure, increased HDL cholesterol, high blood sugar, high triglycerides and larger waist circumference.

Nico S. Rizzo, PhD of  Loma Linda University and colleagues looked at data from more than 700 adults randomly picked from the subjects in Loma University's Adventist Health Study 2 and found the association.

Vegetarians accounting for 37 percent Of the subjects were found to have lower triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index or BMI compared with those meat-eaters.

Even semi-vegetarians were found to have a significantly redcued BMI and waistline, compared with those who ate meat more frequently.

Previous studies have shown that eating plant-based diet can even reverse adverse heart conditions.  

President Bil Clinton, who was influenced by a book titled China Study authored by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a distingushed Cornell University nutrition professor, has adopted a vegetarian diet and improved his physics drastically, according to media reports.

"This work again shows that diet improves many of the main cardiovascular risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome," said Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, principal investigator of Adventist Health Study 2. 

"Trending toward a plant-based diet is a sensible choice."