Vegetarian Dietary Patterns Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

The Adventist Health Study 2

  1. Gary E. Fraser, MD, PHD3
  1. 1Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California
  2. 2Unit of Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California
  1. Corresponding author: Nico S. Rizzo, nrizzo{at}


OBJECTIVE The study objective was to compare dietary patterns in their relationship with metabolic risk factors (MRFs) and the metabolic syndrome (MetS).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Cross-sectional analysis of 773 subjects (mean age 60 years) from the Adventist Health Study 2 was performed. Dietary pattern was derived from a food frequency questionnaire and classified as vegetarian (35%), semi-vegetarian (16%), and nonvegetarian (49%). ANCOVA was used to determine associations between dietary pattern and MRFs (HDL, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, and waist circumference) while controlling for relevant cofactors. Logistic regression was used in calculating odds ratios (ORs) for MetS.

RESULTS A vegetarian dietary pattern was associated with significantly lower means for all MRFs except HDL (P for trend < 0.001 for those factors) and a lower risk of having MetS (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.30–0.64, P < 0.001) when compared with a nonvegetarian dietary pattern.

CONCLUSIONS A vegetarian dietary pattern is associated with a more favorable profile of MRFs and a lower risk of MetS. The relationship persists after adjusting for lifestyle and demographic factors.

  • Received June 25, 2010.
  • Accepted February 2, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 34 no. 5 1225-1227
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