22.01.2018 change 22.01.2018

Expert: Vegetarians are less likely to suffer from ischemic heart disease and type 2 diabetes

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Vegetarians are less likely to have ischemic heart disease, have lower cholesterol, they are less susceptible to type 2 diabetes - says Dr. Katarzyna Neubauer, gastroenterologist from Wroclaw Medical University. The Ethical Eating Day is observed on January 11.

Dr. Katarzyna Neubauer, gastroenterologist at the Chair and Clinic of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Wroclaw Medical University, reminds that in 2009 the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) determined that all vegetarian diets are healthy and, if properly planned, they fully satisfy the nutritional needs.

The expert emphasises that according to studies carried out in the UK, Germany, the US and Canada, vegetarians are less likely to have ischemic heart disease. "They have lower total cholesterol and its LDL fraction (the so-called bad cholesterol - PAP), they are less susceptible to type 2 diabetes and, to a small extent compared to meat eaters, also to cancer" - says Dr. Neubauer.

The researcher emphasises that vegetarians are at a lower risk of stomach cancer and myeloma compared to people who eat meat. "People who eat fish are less likely to have colon cancer than people who eat meat. Vegetarians rarely suffer from diverticulosis. Undoubtedly, however, further research is necessary" - says Dr. Neubauer.

The gastroenterologist points out that vegetarians also have a lower body mass index compared to people who eat meat. This is an advantage of this diet, considering that obesity takes the scale of a global epidemic - stresses the scientist.

Dr. Neubauer notes that one of the objections against a vegetarian diet is that it does not provide the nutrients present mainly or exclusively in meat.

"Such situations can occur if the diet is poorly planned, but we should remember that the presence of meat in the diet does not equal its proper balancing. Vegetarian diet has, among other things, a lower content of saturated protein and fat, vitamin B12, zinc, calcium and iron" - says the gastroenterologist.

The scientist emphasises that before starting a vegetarian diet, it is best to consult a dietitian or doctor, who will check the potential risk of deficiency or adverse reactions.

Dr. Neubauer also adds that vegetarianism is probably the only diet discussed in a much broader context than health benefits. "Ethical and environmental aspects related to animal husbandry are extremely important. Global meat consumption is growing, but there are also more frequent pressures and voices that this trend should be stopped. This gives vegetarianism a completely new meaning" - she says.

Vegetarianism has many varieties, including lacto-ovo-vegetarianism that allows to consume eggs and milk and its products, but also veganism that restricts diet to plant products. There is also the concept of semi-vegetarianism, which allows the consumption of poultry and fish, or products from one of these groups (PAP)

author: Piotr Doczekalski

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