Vegetarian Diet May Reduce Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors associated with stroke, diabetes, coronary heart disease. One of the primary indicators of metabolic syndrome is extra weight around the waist. The indications of metabolic syndrome are any three of the following: blood presssure greater than 130/85 mmHG, fasting glucose greater than 100 mg/dL, large waist circumference (40+ in for men, 35+ in for women), HDL cholesterol under 40 mg/dL for men or 50 mg/dL for women, or triglyercides greater than 150 mg/dL. A diagnosis of MetS indicates that you are at much greater risk of stroke, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Researchers at Loma Linda University found that a vegetarian diet was associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.  The study, published in March issue of DiabetesCare, analyzed 773 subjects in the Adventist Health Study 2. Subjects self reported their dietary habits via a food questionnaire (vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, or non-vegetarian).  This data was used to determine association between diet and risk factors (HDL, triglyercides, glucose, blood pressure, and waist circumference).

When compared to the non-vegetarians, vegetarians had lower means of the risk factors, except for HDL, and they had lower risk of Metabolic Syndrome.