An important new scientific study seems to establish the benefits of vegetarianism. Even if they smoke and drink alcohol, people who do not eat meat are generally much healthier than carnivores.
Could opting for a meatless diet have any health benefits? This is what a recent study, published at the annual European Congress on Obesity, by researchers at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) seems to show.
Scientists have been interested in the effects of meat-and-meat nutrition on biomarkers, these biological characteristics that can be accurately measured and used as indicators of body function, disease, and so on.
A large-scale study
To understand how diet choice differentiates biomarker levels, especially in blood and urine, Dr. Carlos Celis-Morales, who led the study and colleagues, analyzed the health data of 177,723 members. from 37 to 73 years of the UK Biobank database, all in good health. Of these, none had reported a significant change in their diet in the last five years.
This sample was then classified into two categories: the 4,111 people who did not eat red meat, poultry, or fish were classified as vegetarians, while the other 166,516 participants, meat consumers, were grouped.
The team of Dr. Carlos Celis-Morales analyzed the levels of 19 biomarkers. Among them, those related to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, bones and joints, kidney and liver function …
And the results are edifying: 13 biomarkers present, in vegetarians, at levels “Significantly lower” that among meat-eaters. Among others, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the so-called “bad cholesterol”, apolipoproteins A and B (related to cardiovascular disease), but also markers of liver function that indicate inflammation or cell damage. and others such as insulin growth factor (IGF-1; a hormone that promotes the growth and proliferation of cancer cells) or creatinine (a marker for impaired kidney function).
Even smokers and vegetarians do better
“Our results are really a reflection, explains Dr. Carlos Celis-Morales in a press release. In addition to not eating red meat and processed meat, which have been linked to heart disease and certain cancers, people on a vegetarian diet tend to consume more vegetables, fruits and nuts, which contain more nutrients, fiber and other compounds. potentially beneficial. “
Differences in nutrition “Which may help explain why vegetarians appear to have lower levels of disease biomarkers that can cause cell damage and chronic disease.”.
And, despite the consumption of alcohol or smoking by some vegetarians, the levels of biomarkers remained lower than those of meat consumers.
Some shortcomings for vegetarians
However, while 13 levels of biomarkers appear to accredit the benefits of a vegetarian diet, some of them noted deficiencies in beneficial biomarkers.
Scientists have noted a significantly lower presence of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known as “good cholesterol,” but also calcium or vitamin D. Some vegetarians also had higher levels of fats (triglycerides) in the blood and cystatin. -C (poor kidney function).
In 2019, another study showed that vegetarians appeared to be less exposed to cardiovascular disease. However, the results also pointed to a higher risk of stroke in them …
Therefore, there are two studies with results to be taken with caution. “This is an observational study […] no conclusions can be drawn about the direct causes and effects “, he also recalled the University of Glasgow press release.