vegetarians are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and
even diabetes and high blood pressure, most likely from the
healthy eating practices, says a new study from Loma Linda
University in Loma Linda, California.
study looked at more than 26,000 black Seventh-day Adventists
ranging from strict vegetarians to their meat-eating
subjects are part of the Loma Linda University Adventist
long-term health study and is funded by the National
Institutes of Health. The study, "Vegetarian diets and
cardiovascular risk factors in black members of the Adventist
Health Study-2,"is available in the journal, Public
the many findings, the study found among vegetarians, a nearly
50 percent lower risk for hypertension, and a more than 40
percent less likelihood of obesity.
Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington
University, said she doesnít see the results as a question
of race as much as proof that healthy eating is beneficial
regardless of ethnic heritage.
study provides an indication that a vegetarian eating plan can
reduce the risk of heart disease, but since the study is
cross-sectional, and not a study to assess does the diet cause
the reduced risk, more research is needed," Diekman said
in a written statement, "As a registered dietitian I can
say that other studies do show the positive benefits of a
vegetarian diet in improving overall health and weight."
Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution. The
study selected African-Americans from the denomination because
members generally have lower rates of alcohol consumption and
cigarette smoking, factors that could impact a cardiovascular
study categorized subjects as: vegans, who abstain from any
meat products; lacto-ovo vegetarians, who consume eggs and
dairy; semi-vegetarians, who infrequently eat meat; pesco-vegetarians,
those who eat fish but no meat; and non-vegetarians.
study showed that black vegetarian Adventists were at less
risk for hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure, total
cholesterol, and high blood-LDL cholesterol.
study didnít establish the cause and effect of the results,
only that vegetarians were healthier than non-vegetarians.
Researchers said cause and effect will be the target of future
Patti Herring, associate professor of public health at Loma
Linda University, said in a written statement, "Some
findings for black Adventists are promising and we are anxious
to compare black Adventist health with the general population
noted that the 26,000 participants is a vastly larger
selection than other studies on Africa-American nutrition.
Jones, coordinator of the MS in Nutrition and Dietetics
program at St. Louis University, said "It didnít
surprise me what they found. We already knew the value of a
vegetarian diet and plant-based foods Ö"
found it interesting that the study showed that while
vegetarians had better health numbers, there was little to no
difference between people who ate a little meat, only fish, or
people who ate meat at every meal.
anxious to see more investigation because until 10 to 15 years
ago, most studies included white men primarily. More diverse
studies have been published in recent years the differentiate
women and ethnic groups.
lot of what we knew about vegetarian diets hadnít been
studied in other populations," she said.