Nutrition hotline: this nutrition hotline concerns a comparison of several aspects of vegan and vegetarian diets.QUESTION: Who are healthier: vegans or vegetarians? BI, via e-mail
ANSWER: This is a difficult question to answer since there is so much individual variability. For example, a person may have become vegan vegan /veg·an/ (ve´gan) (vej´an) a vegetarian whose diet excludes all food of animal origin.
n. to help treat a disease. That person may not be as healthy as someone who is not vegan but does not have a chronic disease. It is even difficult to look at two studies, one examining vegans and one examining vegetarians, and make conclusions about which diet is healthier since the groups studied may be different ages or sexes, or contain individuals with genetic predispositions or other factors that could influence their health.
Our best bet is to examine studies that compare vegans and vegetarians of similar ages. There is a limited number of these types of studies. In some cases, it is difficult to draw conclusions since the number of subjects, especially vegan subjects, is small.
ARE VEGAN DIETS HEALTHIER?
Vegan diets are generally markedly lower in cholesterol than vegetarian diets. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the studies, vegans also tend to eat less saturated fat saturated fat, any solid fat that is an ester of glycerol and a saturated fatty acid. The molecules of a saturated fat have only single bonds between carbon atoms; if double bonds are present in the fatty acid portion of the molecule, the fat is said to be and more fiber than vegetarians. Some studies have found that vegan diets are slightly lower in calories and protein and higher in carbohydrates than vegetarian diets. A study of African-American Seventh-day Adventists in the US found that vegans had lower intakes of sodium, vitamin D vitamin D
Any of a group of fat-soluble alcohols important in calcium metabolism in animals to form strong bones and teeth and prevent rickets and osteoporosis. It is formed by ultraviolet radiation (sunlight) of sterols (see steroid) present in the skin. , vitamin [B.sub.12], and calcium. Female vegans had higher intakes of vitamin C vitamin C
or ascorbic acid
Water-soluble organic compound important in animal metabolism. Most animals produce it in their bodies, but humans, other primates, and guinea pigs need it in the diet to prevent scurvy. and vitamin A vitamin A
also called retinol
Fat-soluble alcohol, most abundant in fatty fish and especially in fish-liver oils. It is not found in plants, but many vegetables and fruits contain beta-carotene (see than female vegetarians, while male vegans had lower intakes of these vitamins than did male vegetarians. This suggests that vegan diets have many positive attributes like lower cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, and higher fiber. However, lower intakes of some vitamins and calcium imply a need to be more aware of sources of these nutrients.
ARE VEGANS AT LOWER RISK FOR HEART DISEASE?
Certainly, dietary factors like lower intakes of saturated fat reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Older studies comparing vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians have found that the risk of heart disease among vegans is even lower than among vegetarians. More recently, the Oxford Vegetarian Study found that both vegans and vegetarians in the UK had lower blood cholesterol levels and LDL-cholesterol levels than meat eaters, but vegans had lower levels than vegetarians. The researchers predicted that, based on blood cholesterol levels, the incidence of heart disease might be 24% lower in lifelong vegetarians and 57% lower in lifelong vegans compared to meat eaters. Other studies have also found that vegans had slightly lower levels of blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides Triglycerides
Fatty compounds synthesized from carbohydrates during the process of digestion and stored in the body's adipose (fat) tissues. High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with insulin resistance. , although differences are not always statistically significant. Some studies have found no difference in lipid levels in vegetarians and vegans.
ARE VEGANS AT A LOWER RISK FOR CANCER?
Only a very limited number of studies have examined this question. Vegans have lower concentrations of potentially colon cancer-causing bile acids. Male vegans appear to have lower levels of a growth factor that can increase risk of developing prostate cancer prostate cancer, cancer originating in the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is the leading malignancy in men in the United States and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in men. than do vegetarians. In a study that combined data from five smaller studies, vegans appeared to have lower death rates from colorectal cancer colorectal cancer
Malignant tumour of the large intestine (colon) or rectum. Risk factors include age (after age 50), family history of colorectal cancer, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, benign polyps, physical inactivity, and a diet high in fat. , breast cancer, and prostate cancer, and higher death rates from stomach cancer and lung cancer lung cancer, cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. Like other cancers, lung cancer occurs after repeated insults to the genetic material of the cell. , than did vegetarians. However, please keep in mind that the limited number of vegans makes it impossible to draw firm conclusions.
DO VEGANS HAVE LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE OR LOWER BODY WEIGHT?
Several studies have shown that vegans tend to be leaner, a factor that may reduce risk of developing hypertension. However, studies comparing vegans and vegetarians have generally found that in both groups, blood pressures are similar.
DO VEGANS HAVE A LOWER RISK OF DEVELOPING OSTEOPOROSIS?
Of or relating to the years or the stage of life immediately before the onset of menopause.
premenopausal adjective vegan and vegetarian women have been reported to have similar bone densities, suggesting that vegans and vegetarians have a similar risk of developing osteoporosis. Older vegan women (age 60 to 90 years) had lower bone densities than older vegetarian women. Lower intakes of calcium and vitamin D in vegans raise concern about long-term bone health, although the recent availability of soymilks and rice milks that are fortified fortified (fôrt´fīd),
adj containing additives more potent than the principal ingredient. with calcium and vitamin D may lead to increased intake of these nutrients.
If you are interested in a listing of the references used in this comparison, please send a request via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a SASE SASE - Specific Application Service Element. Opposite: CASE. to The Vegetarian Resource Group at PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.
VRG's MEMORIAL AND HONORARY GIFT PROGRAM
How often have you wanted to make a gift in honor of a loved one or friend, but weren't sure which charities are vegetarian friendly, pro-environmental, or pro-animal rights? Please remember The Vegetarian Resource Group. You can make a gift in memory of a loved one or as a living tribute to honor someone you care about on a special occasion, such as a wedding or birth. We'll send an acknowledgement to you and the person or family you choose. Your gift will support educational outreach programs and help promote vegetarianism vegetarianism, theory and practice of eating only fruits and vegetables, thus excluding animal flesh, fish, or fowl and often butter, eggs, and milk. In a strict vegetarian, or vegan, diet (i.e. .
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Make checks payable to The Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.
Thank you to Stephanie Schueler for a generous donation in honor of Davida Breier's service to VRG.
Special thanks to Don Embree for his donation in honor of Cynthia Embree-Lavoie's Birthday.
Thanks to Rita Rovner for her donation in honor of Buster's speedy recovery.
Special thanks to Susan Bernstein for her Life Membership donation in memory of Minnie Prins Bernstein.