Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet – A Vegetarian Diet May Reduce the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Erin Benjamin 

It appears that vegetarians are less likely to have metabolic syndrome than meat eaters, as is reported by a recent study. Since metabolic syndrome can lead to such serious health issues as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, it is likely that those that do not eat meat have a reduced risk of developing these problis. It takes three of five risk factors being present to be in the category of having metabolic syndrome. These five are low HDL, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high glucose, and a waist circumference that is unhealthy. Research has shown that one of the benefits of a vegetarian diet could be a reduction in the occurrence of these conditions.

Benefits of a Vegetarian DietIn fact, only one quarter of those in the study who did not include meat in their diet suffered from metabolic syndrome. The percentage was great for those who did include meat in their diet. The results were the same even after other factors, including age, race, gender, activity level, lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking, and calorie intake were considered. Contrary to the belief of some, it is possible to have a high calorie vegetarian diet, especially one that allows eggs and dairy products. This is why it is possible to have a meatless diet, but miss some of the known benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Some researchers were surprised by the finding, noting is shows just how important diet can be in preventing serious conditions. More than 700 adults participated in the study, which was part of long-term observation research on more than 100,000 people. Still, the results are not all that surprising, since the health benefits of fruits and vegetables have long been known, as well as the negative issues associated with too much of the wrong types of meat. Though meat is an excellent source of protein, this is a nutrient that can easily be found in non-meat sources such as tofu, beans, and nuts. The latest findings are just the most recent in a good deal of information regarding the possible health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

It should be noted that this does not necessarily mean that meat is a bad thing, but too much of it can be. The fact is, most Americans that eat meat eat way too much. Though the evidence suggested that one of the benefits of a vegetarian diet appeared to be a reduction in the risk of metabolic syndrome, it could be that it was the reduction in meat intake that actually offered this particular benefit. More research is needed to determine just how much of a reduction in meat intake is needed to reap the benefit.