Vegetarian Diet Associated with Lower Risk of the Metabolic Syndrome

The metabolic syndrome is a group of disorders which are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Previously, it’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 [1], compared three diets and their respective risk of developing the metabolic syndrome (vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and non vegetarian).  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.  As well, semi-vegetarians had significantly lower waist circumferences and BMI’s than nonvegetarians.

Compared to nonvegetarians of whom 39.7% had the metabolic syndrome, only 25.2% of vegetarians had it.  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 didn’t.

The researchers concluded:

Our results thus confirm and build on previous studies on vegetarian diets and metabolic risk (13–16), and  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?


  1. Rizzo NS, Sabaté 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.

2 thoughts on “Vegetarian Diet Associated with Lower Risk of the Metabolic Syndrome

  • June 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Hi, Thanks for the informative article!

    Often there are two schools of thought observed
    when it comes to choosing a vegetarian over the Non-vegetarian diet.

    First one supports Non-veg food as a way of life and the second says, Non-veg food is unsuitable for the human digestive system. I would agree with the second school of thought. Food should give us sustained and high energy levels.

    Now, as rightly mentioned by you in the article – it takes lot of time and energy to digest Non-veg food in comparison with Veg food.

    Yes, a vegan diet can be key to a healthy mind and body.

  • May 20, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for the encouraging article for vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diet is always better than non-veg diet, although the protein quality of veg diet is lower than non-vend diet, but with proper planning and combination it is possible to improve quality of veg diet protein.


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