Vegetarians have less metabolic syndrome

April 14, 2011 at 8:15 PM

LOMA LINDA, Calif., April 14 (UPI) -- Vegetarians have lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome -- a precursor to heart disease and diabetes -- than non-vegetarians, U.S. researchers say.

Metabolic syndrome involves having three or more of the following -- blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85 millimeters of mercury; fasting blood sugar equal to or higher than 100 milligrams per deciliter; large waist circumference [for men, 40 inches or more, for women 35 inches or more]; low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [for men, under 40 mg/dL, for women, under 50 mg/dL; and triglycerides equal to or higher than 150 mg/dL.

The study examined more than 700 adults -- 35 percent were vegetarians -- randomly selected from Loma Linda University's long-term study of the lifestyle and health of almost 100,000 Seventh-day Adventists across the United States and Canada.

On average, the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians were 3 years older than non-vegetarians, but despite the older age, the vegetarians had lower triglycerides, glucose levels, blood pressure, waist circumference and body mass index.

In addition, semi-vegetarians had a significantly lower body mass index and waist circumference compared to those who ate meat more regularly.

"I was not sure if there would be a significant difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and I was surprised by just how much the numbers contrast," lead researcher Nico S. Rizzo of Loma Linda University says in a statement.

The findings are publishes in the journal Diabetes Care.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
Boehner delays House vote for new speaker
NASA releases thousands of Apollo mission photos on Flickr
FDA approves new treatment for advanced lung cancer
Gay Vatican priest comes out day before Pope Francis begins synod on family issues
Scientists find roadmap that may lead to 'exercise pill'