Victory for Vegetarians

Vegetarian diets may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Your diet can heavily effect your chance of getting certain diseases. A new study shows that people with a vegetarian diet may have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome - the name for all the factors that increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Not all vegetarians are free from metabolic syndrome. However, researchers found that metabolic syndrome is significantly less common in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians. Metabolic syndrome is also much less common in vegetarians than in semi-vegetarians.

"Vegetarians may have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke."

Lead researcher Nico S. Rizzo, Ph.D., notes that he was not sure if there would be a big difference in the risk of metabolic syndrome between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. However, he says, the study's results showed that diet can be very important in preventing metabolic syndrome.

According to Gary Fraser, M.D., Ph.D., switching towards a more plant-based diet makes sense for those at risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

In Depth

For their study, researchers looked at the the diets and metabolic risks of more than 700 adults. Of these adults, 35 percent were vegetarian. The researchers found that:

  • Vegetarians had a 36 percent lower rate of metabolic syndrome compared to non-vegetarians
  • Vegetarians had lower triglycerides, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, waist size, and body mass index (BMI) - all of which are measurements of metabolic syndrome
  • 25 percent of vegetarians had metabolic syndrome
  • 37 percent of semi-vegetarians had metabolic syndrome
  • 39 percent of non-vegetarians had metabolic syndrome
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 14, 2011
Last Updated:
April 15, 2011