Vegetarianism, Or Less Body Fat?

Here is an example of a research commentary that misses the forest for the trees: "Vegetarians experience a 36 percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome than non-vegetarians, suggests new research ... Because metabolic syndrome can be a precursor to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, the findings indicate vegetarians may be at lower risk of developing these conditions. Metabolic syndrome is defined as exhibiting at least three out of five total risk factors: high blood pressure, elevated HDL cholesterol, high glucose levels, elevated triglycerides, and an unhealthy waist circumference. ... while 25 percent of vegetarians had metabolic syndrome, the number significantly rises to 37 percent for semi-vegetarians and 39 percent for non-vegetarians. The results hold up when adjusted for factors such as age, gender, race, physical activity, calories consumed, smoking, and alcohol intake. ... On average, the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians were three years older than non-vegetarians. Despite their slightly older age, vegetarians had lower triglycerides, glucose levels, blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI). Semi-vegetarians also had a significantly lower BMI and waist circumference compared to those who ate meat more regularly." Given the broader context of what is known about the effects of body fat on long-term health, the plausible mechanism here looks to be related to the amount of visceral fat rather than anything to do with diet per se.



Indeed you're right, this is almost certainly not about diet, but about them getting fewer calories since they forgo meat which is quite calorie dense. While a high-meat diet is not wise, once calories are accounted for, I actually think a typical high-carb vegetarian diet would be less than optimal too, for the effect carbs have regarding insulin.

Posted by: kim at April 14th, 2011 7:30 PM

A recent press release -

"How Can Metabolic Surgery Cure Diabetes So Fast?"

- reports that gastric bypass surgery results in immediate improvement of diabetic condition - much faster than could be due to visceral fat reduction.

Posted by: Lou Pagnucco at April 15th, 2011 9:36 AM

Those who are vegetarian should eat protien from mushroom better than fruit and vegetable only.

Posted by: bhip at April 16th, 2011 9:16 AM

Kim- Remember, calories were adjusted for; "The results hold up when adjusted for factors such as age, gender, race, physical activity, calories consumed, smoking, and alcohol intake..."

Posted by: Taurus at April 19th, 2011 6:26 AM

Is this site really concerned with fighting aging? Or just personal opinion while doing so? The research scientists that wrote the article are not idiots that somehow missed that fact. I also don't see how you can just dismiss it so flippantly with just an opinion.

Give it a shot, I lost a lot of weight and visceral fat on it. Here comes your counter words blah blah blah, do a study yourself or something provable or factual like they or I did. There's no shortage of words on the internet from pseudo medical sites.

Posted by: Will Drotar at May 28th, 2011 7:52 AM
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