Vegetarians have experienced a much lower risk of metabolic syndrome than non-vegetarians, according to researchers at Loma Linda University in California.
Their findings are based on analysis of more than 700 adults randomly sampled from a long-term study of the lifestyle and health of almost 100,000 Seventh-day Adventist Christians across the United States and Canada.
It has been found in the study that 25 percent of vegetarians had metabolic syndrome, then the number considerably increases to 37 percent for semi vegetarians and 39 percent for non vegetarians.
The study is published in the April issue of the journal Diabetes Care.
The risk of developing metabolic syndrome is 36 percent lower among vegetarians than non- vegetarians. This means that vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and stroke — three major conditions that are closely linked with metabolic syndrome, the researchers say.
The study also found that vegetarians, though slightly older than non-vegetarians, had lower triglycerides, glucose levels, blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI). Semi-vegetarians, meanwhile, also had a significantly lower BMI and waist circumference compared to those who ate meat more regularly.
The findings will not be affected by other factors such as age, gender, race, physical activity, calories consumed, smoking, and alcohol intake, the researchers say.