Study compares vegetarians', meat eaters' health

Vegetarians have less fat in their diets.
Vegetarians have less fat in their diets.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Eating fruits and vegetables takes on new meaning with this latest study.  The research also points to the effects on cholesterol and blood pressure of those who do not eat meat.

Kimberly Donohue is a Registered Dietician with the Parkway Campus of Decatur/Morgan Hospital.

"The study was conducted over about a 20 year period. It studied about 45,000 people in Great Britain and Scotland, and vegetarians were found to have about a 30 percent less risk for having heart disease. They also had lower cholesterol and had less diabetes," she said.

There has long been established a link between heart disease and related problems.

"…So blood pressure increases your risk of stroke and heart disease. Cholesterol increases your risk of clogged arteries and heart disease," added Donohue.

She said many vegetarians may even look different.

"Vegetarians tend to be slimmer," she said. "They have less fat in their diet."

Research indicates they also smoke less and are more active.

Authors of the study could only show an association between better health and a meat free diet, not a cause and effect link.

On average, those vegetarians were about 10 years younger than the meat eaters.

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