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Mutagenesis. 1998 Mar; 13(2): 167-71.

Long-term effects of a change from a mixed diet to a lacto-vegetarian diet on human urinary and faecal mutagenic activity.

Johansson G, Holmén A, Persson L, Högstedt B, Wassén C, Ottova L, Gustafsson JA.

Department of Medical Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge Hospital, Sweden. [email protected]

This is an investigation of the long-term effects of a shift from a mixed diet to a lacto-vegetarian diet and of a return to a mixed diet on the mutagenic activity in urine and faeces. The participants were 20 normal weight, non-smoking subjects. Dietary surveys and urinary and faecal samples were collected before and 3, 6 and 12 months after the dietary shift as well as 3 years after termination of the lacto-vegetarian diet period. The faecal samples were assayed for direct acting mutagens with the fluctuation test for weak mutagens and the urinary samples were assayed with the same assay but with a metabolic activation system, the so-called S9 fraction. The dietary data showed an increase in consumption of fruits, vegetables and dairy products and a decrease in meat, fish, eggs, sweets and biscuits during the vegetarian diet period. These changes led to an increase in total carbohydrates, fibre, vitamin C and calcium and a decrease in fat and protein intake. Mutagenic activity in both urine and faeces decreased after shift to the vegetarian diet and mutagenic activity in faeces increased when the volunteers returned to a mixed diet (P = 0.025 and 0.035 respectively when comparing the diets). These data indicate that dietary factors may effect mutagenic activity in urine and faeces. However, it is still not clear whether a decrease in animal products, a change in other nutritional factors or a decrease in frying are the main contributors to this change.

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