A new study reveals vegetarian diet to have a healthier profile for biomarkers than a meat-eating diet. This applies to adults of all age and weight, and is also unaffected by alcohol consumption and smoking. The finding is based on a study performed on 166,000 adults in the UK, and is presented at the annual session of the European Congress on Obesity held virtually this year.
Medically, biomarkers can have both good and bad effects on health, promote or prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, age-related diseases, and other chronic conditions. Biomarkers are widely used to assess how diets have an impact on health. However, evidence of metabolic benefits associated with vegetarianism remain unclear.
Meanwhile, a cross-sectional study carried out by researchers at the University of Glasgow enables to understand if dietary choices can make difference on disease markers in the urine and blood. The study involved analyzing data of 177, 723 health participants in the 37-73 years age group obtained from the UK Biobank study who reported minimal changes in diet in the last five years.
The participants who were analyzed were categorized as either vegetarian or meat-eater according based on their diets. On examining these individuals, the researchers examined the association of 19 blood and urine biomarkers with diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, liver, kidney function, and bone and joint health.
Despite accounting potentially influential factors such as sex and age, the analysis found that meat-eaters had significantly lower levels of 13 biomarkers. This includes total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein A, and apolipoprotein.
Importantly, vegetarians also had low levels of beneficial biomarkers, including good cholesterol, vitamin D, and calcium.