A Few Facts About Health

Here’s a few quick snippets about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet meant to convey the pretty understandable concept that less cholesterol and fat will generally trend towards lower mortality rates than one might see in a nonvegetarian population. Who’d have thought such a simple point would need so much effort to convey?

Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, according to ADA’s position. “Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet.”

Additionally, an evidence-based review showed a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

A section in ADA’s paper on vegetarian diets and cancer has been significantly expanded to provide details on cancer-protective factors in vegetarian diets. An expanded section on osteoporosis includes roles of fruits, vegetables, soy products, protein, calcium, vitamins D and K and potassium in bone health.


After adjusting for smoking, body mass index, and social class, death rates were lower in non-meat-eaters than in meat eaters for each of the mortality endpoints studied [relative risks and 95% CIs: 0.80 (0. 65, 0.99) for all causes of death, 0.72 (0.47, 1.10) for ischemic heart disease, and 0.61 (0.44, 0.84) for all malignant neoplasms]. Mortality from ischemic heart disease was also positively associated with estimated intakes of total animal fat, saturated animal fat, and dietary cholesterol.

(My emphasis)

By the late 1970s, studies of mortality in Californian Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs), approximately half of whom were vegetarians, had suggested that SDAs had lower rates of death from major types of cancer than did the general Californian population (1) and that ischemic heart disease mortality was significantly lower in vegetarian male SDAs than in their nonvegetarian counterparts (2).

The most striking results from the analysis were the strong positive associations between increasing consumption of animal fats and ischemic heart disease mortality [death rate ratios (and 95% CIs) for the highest third of intake compared with the lowest third in subjects with no prior disease were 3.29 (1.50, 7.21) for total animal fat, 2.77 (1.25, 6.13) for saturated animal fat, and 3.53 (1.57, 7.96) for dietary cholesterol; P for trend: <0.01, <0.01, and <0.001, respectively].

Source / Source

Study of Seventh Day Adventists of whom about half are lacto-ovo vegetarians

Basically this study concludes that among Seventh Day Adventists (SDA), none smoke nor drink (its against their religion) but about half eat meat and half will only eat eggs/dairy to get animal protein, but not flesh. Among the ‘vegetarian’ SDAs, less died from heart disease and cancer than did the general population, however the study could not conclusively exclude other factors as the nonvegetarian population often exercised less and in general participated in less healthy lifestyles than the vegetarian population. This study was mostly used as a jumping off point for the Oxford study to crank up the focus on the diet and see if other lifestyle factors could be controlled for to boost the accuracy of any mortality-reduction effects of a vegetarian diet.


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