New research from the University of Glasgow shows that vegetarians who smoke and drink are healthier than those who eat meat. The researchers found that the vegetarians had healthier biomarker profiles, including lower cholesterol levels, inflammation and a hormone that promotes cancer growth.
They found that these biomarkers help avoid the negative effects associated with smoking, drinking, regardless of age and weight in adults, along with diseases such as kidney failure.
However, the team noted that the vegetarians had lower intakes of vitamins that support bone health, along with a significantly higher fat intake.
Eating nothing but fruits and vegetables has become a popular way of life around the world, with more than 300 million people globally not eating meat and animal products. And new research has gone deeper to see what specific health benefits a vegetarian diet offers.
Research found that Vegetarians have healthier biomarker profiles, including lower cholesterol levels, inflammation and a hormone that promotes cancer growth. (Illustration)
Researchers analyzed the blood and urine of 177,723 healthy volunteers in the UK. Approximately 4,111 participants were identified as vegetarians and 166,516 were meat eaters.
The team examined 19 biomarkers in blood and urine associated with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, liver, bone and joint function and kidney function.
Even taking into account factors likely to influence the results, including age, sex, education, ethnicity, obesity, smoking and drinking, the analysis found that compared with those who ate meat, vegetarians had significantly lower 13 biomarkers.
This includes low levels of bad cholesterol, markers of liver function, cell damage and a hormone that encourages cancer cell growth, along with low levels of creatinine and a protein known to degrade renal function.
While these signs are ideal for protecting people from developing disease, fasting has a downside. Vegetarians face a problem, including lower levels of good cholesterol, vitamins D and C, which are essential for bone health.
Dr Carlos Celis-Morales from the University of Glasgow, UK, said: ‘In addition to avoiding red and processed meat which can cause heart disease and some cancers, people following a vegetarian diet have tend to consume more vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds that are rich in nutrients, fiber and other beneficial compounds.
These nutritional differences may help explain why vegetarians appear to have lower levels of disease biomarkers that can lead to cellular damage and chronic disease.”
The authors say that although their study was large, it was observational, so no conclusions could be drawn about direct cause and effect.
Huong Giang (via: dailymail)