The metabolic syndrome is a group of disorders which are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.Â Previously, itâ€™s been unknown whether or not certain dietary patterns would confer a lower risk of developing the metabolic syndrome.
A recent study published in the journal, Diabetes Care , compared three diets and their respective risk of developing the metabolic syndrome (vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and non vegetarian).Â The study itself included data from 773 subjects with a mean age of 60 in a cross-sectional analysis.
After adjusting for confounding factors including age, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity and others, the researchers found that triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference, and BMI (body mass index) were significantly lower in vegetarians than nonvegetarians.Â As well, semi-vegetarians had significantly lower waist circumferences and BMIâ€™s than nonvegetarians.
Compared to nonvegetarians of whom 39.7% had the metabolic syndrome, only 25.2% of vegetarians had it.Â In fact, those who adhered to a vegetarian diet had an odds ratio of 0.44 for developing the metabolic syndrome compared to those who didnâ€™t.
The researchers concluded:
Our results thus conï¬rm and build on previous studies on vegetarian diets and metabolic risk (13â€“16), andÂ suggest that a vegetarian dietary pattern can play a favorable role in lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Would you go vegetarian to lower your risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease?
- Rizzo NS, SabatÃ© J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fraser GE. Vegetarian dietary patterns are associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome: the adventist health study 2. Diabetes Care. 2011 May;34(5):1225-7. Epub 2011 Mar 16.