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January 2022

Aust N Z J Med. 1984 Aug; 14(4): 400-4.

Vegetarian diets, lipids and cardiovascular risk.

Masarei JR, Rouse IL, Lynch WJ, Robertson K, Vandongen R, Beilin LJ.

Vegetarian diets produce moderate but appreciable changes in serum lipid levels. A six-week intervention study in which other aspects of life-style were kept constant showed that levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol fell 0.22, 0.19 and 0.07 mmol/l, respectively, while triglyceride levels increased non-significantly 0.12 mmol/l. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol did not change. A comparison of groups of habitual vegetarians and omnivores matched for other aspects of lifestyle showed rather larger differences in atherogenic lipid levels: 0.71 and 0.67 mmol/l for total- and LDL-cholesterol; the difference in HDL-C levels was 0.04 mmol/l; triglyceride was 0.19 mmol/l greater in vegetarians. 92% of the variation in intakes of major nutrients was accounted for by three derived factors; changes in levels of most of the lipids were associated in each case with one of the factors. The resultant falls in the levels of total- and LDL-cholesterol in people adopting a vegetarian diet probably contribute to a reduction in cardiovascular risk.


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