Vegetarian Diets Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Risk for Heart Disease
A vegetarian dietary pattern improves body weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure and reduces the risk for heart disease, according to a review published in Nutrients. Researchers from The Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the Physicians Committee reviewed meta-analyses and systematic reviews that compared various diets to health outcomes in order to update clinical guidelines. Dietary patterns assessed included the DASH diet, liquid meal replacements, Nordic, Portfolio, and vegetarian diets. Those who ate diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains improved risk factors for heart disease and reduced their risk of death from heart disease. People with diabetes who followed this dietary pattern lowered body weight and cholesterol. Mechanisms behind the improvements may include increased fiber, plant-based protein, and antioxidants and decreased intake of saturated fat on a vegetarian diet.