A comparative study of metabolic profile, anthropometric parameters among vegetarians and non-vegetarians- do vegetarian diet have a cardio protective role?

Ashwini .


Background: Various studies have evaluated the cardio protective role of vegetarian diet among diverse group of population and found that vegetarians have lower cardiovascular risk. However, studies’ evaluating association between vegetarian diet and cardiovascular risk among young adults are meagre and is of special interest as they are the productive group of community.

Methods: Ninety volunteers (age 19±1 year), of which 46 non-vegetarians, and 44 vegetarians were recruited. After obtaining written informed consent and Institutional Ethical Clearance, height, weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, fasting blood sugar, serum cholesterol, triglycerides and high density lipoproteins were estimated.

Results: Significant difference was observed in weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC). Weight, BMI, WC, HC was lower among vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians and was statistically significant (p=0.0001, p=0.0001, p=001, p=0.0001 respectively). Serum cholesterol levels were also significantly lower among vegetarians. (p=0.01). HDL levels were 50.57±9.62 and 62.43±8.07 respectively for vegetarians and non-vegetarian group and was significantly higher among non-vegetarians (p=0.0001). Intergroup comparison among three group of vegetarians (lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto vegetarians, total vegetarians) showed that total vegetarians have significantly lower height (p=0.001), weight (0.002), fasting blood glucose (p=0.001), total cholesterol (p=0.005) and triglycerides (p=0.0001) when compared to lacto-ovo vegetarians.

Conclusions: Vegetarians have a more favourable lipid profile and anthropometry, with lower levels of total cholesterol, lower weight, body mass index, waist and hip circumference when compared to non-vegetarians, that reduces cardiovascular risk among them. Identifying young adults with unfavourable metabolic profile and adapting suitable dietary modifications tends to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease particularly in developing countries.



Vegetarians, Cardiovascular disease, Metabolic profile

Full Text:



Fraser G, Katuli S, Anousheh R, Knutsen S, Herring P, Fan J. Vegetarian diets and cardiovascular risk factors in black members of the Adventist Health Study-2. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18(3):537-45.

Mozaffarian D, Appel LJ, Horn LV. Components of a cardio-protective diet New Insights. Circulation. 2011;123(24):2870-91.

GBD report 2004 update. Available at: healthinfo/ global_burden_disease/ GBD_report_2004update .

Shridhar K, Dhillon PK, Bowen L, Kinra S, Bharathi AV, Prabhakaran D, et al. The Association between a Vegetarian Diet and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors in India: The Indian Migration Study. Plos One. 2014;9(10):e110586.

Gupta M, Singh N, Verma S. South Asians and Cardiovascular Risk What Clinicians Should Know. Circulation. 2006;113(25):e924-9.

Reddy KS, Katan MB. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Public Health_Nutr. 2004;7(1A):167-86.

De Biase SG, Fernandes SFC, Gianini RJ, Duarte JLG. Vegetarian diet and cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Arq Bras Cardiol. 2007;88(1):35-9.

Jian ZH, Chiang YC, Lung CC, Ho CC, Ko PC, Ndi Nfor O, et al. Vegetarian diet and cholesterol and TAG levels by gender. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18(4):721-6.

Tonstad S, Butler T, Yan R, Fraser GE. Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2009;32(5):791-6.

Fraser GE. Vegetarian diets: what do we know of their effects on common chronic diseases?1234. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(5):1607S-12S.

Chen CW, Lin YL, Lin TK, Lin CT, Chen BC, Lin CL. Total cardiovascular risk profile of Taiwanese vegetarians. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;62:138-44.

Shridhar K, Dhillon PK, Bowen L, Kinra S, Bharathi AV, Prabhakaran D, et al. Nutritional profile of Indian vegetarian diets-the Indian Migration Study (IMS). Nutr J. 2014;13:55.

Nhanes-Nhanes 2007-2008-Manuals, Brochures, and Consent Documents. Nhanes, Anthropometry Procedures Manual. nchs/ nhanes/ nhanes2007 2008/ current_nhanes_07_08.htm.

Misra A, Vikram NK, Gupta R, Pandey RM, Wasir JS, Gupta VP. Waist circumference cut-off points and action levels for Asian Indians for identification of abdominal obesity. Int J Obes. 2006;30(1):106-11.

Walia R, Bhansali A, Ravikiran M, Ravikumar P, Bhadada SK, Shanmugasundar G, et al. High prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in Asian Indians: A community survey - Chandigarh Urban Diabetes Study (CUDS). Indian J Med Res. 2014;139(2):252-9.

Chiu Y-F, Hsu C-C, Chiu THT, Lee C-Y, Liu T-T, Tsao CK, et al. Cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons of metabolic profiles between vegetarian and non-vegetarian subjects: a matched cohort study. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(8):1313-20.

Chen CW, Lin YL, Lin TK, Lin CT, Chen BC, Lin CL. Total cardiovascular risk profile of Taiwanese vegetarians. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008;62:138-44.

Hamsten A, Iselius L, Dahlen G, de Faire U. Genetic and cultural inheritance of serum lipids, low and high density lipoprotein cholesterol and serum apolipoproteins A-I, A-II and B. Atherosclerosis. 1986;60:199-208.

Heller DA, de Faire U, Pedersen NL, Dahlen G, McClearn GE. Genetic and environmental influences on serum lipid levels in twins.1. N Engl J Med. 1993;328:1150-6.

Huang YW, Jian ZH, Chang HC, Nfor ON, Ko PC, Lung CC, et al. Vegan diet and blood lipid profiles: a cross-sectional study of pre and postmenopausal women. BMC Womens Health. 2014;8;14:55.