(2003). "Proceedings of the 4th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition. Loma Linda, California, USA. April 8-11, 2002." Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 501S-668S.
(2003). "Vegetarian diets. Consider the benefits." Mayo Clin Health Lett 21(3): 4-5.
Abdelwahab, I. F., et al. (2003). "Solitary cysticercosis of the biceps brachii in a vegetarian: a rare and unusual pseudotumor." Skeletal Radiol 32(7): 424-428.
We report a 40-year-old man with cysticercosis presenting as a solitary tumor in the biceps brachii muscle. Physical examination revealed an intramuscular mass and magnetic resonance imaging suggested a cyst. The histologic diagnosis was a cysticercus. Such solitary presentation of muscular cysticercosis is extremely rare with only a handful of sporadic reports in the literature.
Ambroszkiewicz, J., et al. (2003). "Low levels of osteocalcin and leptin in serum of vegetarian prepubertal children." Med Wieku Rozwoj 7(4 Pt 2): 587-591.
BACKGROUND: Scientific literature points to the positive association between vegetarian diet and reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and diabetes. On the other hand elimination of animal products from the diet decreases the intake of some essential nutrients which may influence bone metabolism. This is a very important problem especially in childhood and adolescence, when growth and bone turnover are the most intensive. Bone metabolism is regulated by variety factors, which are involved in the bone formation and bone resorption processes. Osteocalcin is one of the markers of bone formation (produced by osteoblast) which plays an important role in the regulation of bone growth. Recent data support the concept that other modulators such as leptin (hormone from adipose tissue) may influence bone formation process. AIM: Our study is designed to investigate serum concentration of osteocalcin and leptin in prepubertal children with two different nutritional habits: vegetarian and omnivorous diet. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We examined 49 healthy children in age 2-10 years, who were divided into vegetarian and omnivores groups. RESULTS: The serum osteocalcin levels in prepubertal children on vegetarian diet was significantly lower than in nonvegetarians (86.7+/-27.4 microg/L versus 100.1+/-16.4 microg/L; p<0.05). Lower level of osteocalcin is accompanied by lower leptin concentration. In children on vegetarian diet mean leptin level was 3.0+/-1.0 microg/L, whereas in omnivorous children it was 5.5+/-2.0 microg/L, (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Our observation indicates that deficiencies in some of the nutrient components together with reduced serum concentration of leptin may retard relevant bone growth and development in childhood.
American Dietetic, A. and C. Dietitians of (2003). "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: vegetarian diets." Can J Diet Pract Res 64(2): 62-81.
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Approximately 2.5% of adults in the United States and 4% of adults in Canada follow vegetarian diets. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat, fish, or fowl. Interest in vegetarianism appears to be increasing, with many restaurants and college foodservices offering vegetarian meals routinely. Substantial growth in sales of foods attractive to vegetarians has occurred and these foods appear in many supermarkets. This position paper reviews the current scientific data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin A, n-3 fatty acids, and iodine. A vegetarian, including vegan, diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, use of fortified foods or supplements can be helpful in meeting recommendations for individual nutrients. Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. While a number of federally funded and institutional feeding programs can accommodate vegetarians, few have foods suitable for vegans at this time. Because of the variability of dietary practices among vegetarians, individual assessment of dietary intakes of vegetarians is required. Dietetics professionals have a responsibility to support and encourage those who express an interest in consuming a vegetarian diet. They can play key roles in educating vegetarian clients about food sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and any dietary modifications that may be necessary to meet individual needs. Menu planning for vegetarians can be simplified by use of a food guide that specifies food groups and serving sizes.
American Dietetic, A. and C. Dietitians of (2003). "Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian diets." J Am Diet Assoc 103(6): 748-765.
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Approximately 2.5% of adults in the United States and 4% of adults in Canada follow vegetarian diets. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat, fish, or fowl. Interest in vegetarianism appears to be increasing, with many restaurants and college foodservices offering vegetarian meals routinely. Substantial growth in sales of foods attractive to vegetarians has occurred, and these foods appear in many supermarkets. This position paper reviews the current scientific data related to key nutrients for vegetarians, including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin A, n-3 fatty acids, and iodine. A vegetarian, including vegan, diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, use of fortified foods or supplements can be helpful in meeting recommendations for individual nutrients. Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. Although a number of federally funded and institutional feeding programs can accommodate vegetarians, few have foods suitable for vegans at this time. Because of the variability of dietary practices among vegetarians, individual assessment of dietary intakes of vegetarians is required. Dietetics professionals have a responsibility to support and encourage those who express an interest in consuming a vegetarian diet. They can play key roles in educating vegetarian clients about food sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and any dietary modifications that may be necessary to meet individual needs. Menu planning for vegetarians can be simplified by use of a food guide that specifies food groups and serving sizes.
Berkoff, N. (2003). "Vegetarian and vegan meal planning." Diabetes Self Manag 20(3): 56-59, 63, 65 passim.
Bhadresha, S. (2003). "A response to 'Vegetarian anaesthesia', Krishna G M, Anaesthesia 2003; 58: 501." Anaesthesia 58(8): 829-830.
Brathwaite, N., et al. (2003). "For the patient. Are vegetarians at less risk for obesity, diabetes, and hypertension? Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and vegetarian status among Seventh-Day Adventists in Barbados: preliminary results." Ethn Dis 13(1): 148.
Brathwaite, N., et al. (2003). "Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and vegetarian status among Seventh-Day Adventists in Barbados: preliminary results." Ethn Dis 13(1): 34-39.
A population-based sample of Seventh-Day Adventists was studied to determine the relationship between vegetarian status, body mass index (BMI), obesity, diabetes mellitus (DM), and hypertension, in order to gain a better understanding of factors influencing chronic diseases in Barbados. A systematic sampling from a random start technique was used to select participants for the study. A standard questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic and lifestyle characteristics, to record anthropometrics and blood pressure measurements, and to ascertain the hypertension and diabetes status of participants. The sample population consisted of 407 Barbadian Seventh-Day Adventists (SDAs), who ranged in age from 25 to 74 years. One hundred fifty-three (37.6%) participants were male, and 254 (62.4%) were female, and 43.5% were vegetarians. The prevalence rates of diabetes and hypertension were lower among long-term vegetarians, compared to non-vegetarians, and long-term vegetarians were, on average, leaner than non-vegetarians within the same cohort. A significant association was observed between a vegetarian diet and obesity (vegetarian by definition P=.04, self-reported vegetarian P=.009) in this population. Other components of the study population lifestyle should be further analyzed to determine the roles they may plan in lessening the prevalence rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Brown, D. (2003). "Iron fulfillment possible through vegetarian lifestyle." J Am Diet Assoc 103(5): 601.
Carrascosa Romero, M. C., et al. (2003). "[Vegetarian diet in glutaric aciduria type I]." An Pediatr (Barc) 59(1): 117-121.
Glutaric aciduria type I is an autosomal recessive metabolic disease (1 case/30,000) characterized by a progressive dystonic-diakinetic syndrome in children. Pathologic examination reveals striatal degeneration of the caudate and putamen nucleus and biochemical analysis shows glutaryl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. Values of glutaric and -hydroxyglutaric acids in urine are usually increased. Currently, the disease is considered untreatable since there are usually irreversible lesions in the central nervous system at diagnosis. However, treatment can be provided to pre-symptomatic children and usually to the siblings of patients with this diagnosis. We present the case of a 23-month-old boy, with macrocephaly and minimal neurologic manifestations at diagnosis, which were attributed to his semivegetarian diet. A dietary regimen and vitamin supplementation halted and even improved symptomatic progression of the disease. We conclude that amino and organic acids in urine should be investigated in all children with progressive macrocephaly of unknown etiology to rule out glutaric aciduria type I.
Chelchowska, M., et al. (2003). "[Lipids and vitamin A and E status in vegetarian children]." Med Wieku Rozwoj 7(4 Pt 2): 577-585.
BACKGROUND: The vegetarian diet may play a preventive role in the development of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In the literature only a few papers concerning benefits to health from vegetarian diet have been reported in children. AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate serum concentration of vitamin A (retinol) and E (alpha-tocopherol) in children on vegetarian and omnivorous diet. Material and methods. Vitamins A and E were measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) in blood of 17 vegetarians and 16 nonvegetarian children. RESULTS: In the group of vegetarian mean plasma concentration of vitamin A and E was statistically lower as compared to those in nonvegetarian children (1.56 micromol/l vs 1.93 micromol/l, p < 0.05; 13.6 micromol/l vs 18.4 micromol/l, p < 0.001). In children on vegetarian diet total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were significantly lower, whereas HDL cholesterol and triglycerides were in the range observed in control group. In vegetarian ratio of tocopherol-to-total cholesterol and tocopherol-to-lipids was statistically lower than those in children on omnivorous diet. CONCLUSION: Since vitamins A and E are important parts in antioxidant defence systems, their low levels may be insufficient for scavenging of free radicals in the cells. In order to recommend dietary guidelines the further studies are needed on large groups of children on different types of vegetarian diet.
Collins, N. (2003). "Vegetarian diets and wound healing." Adv Skin Wound Care 16(2): 65-66.
Dwyer, J. (2003). "Vegetarian diets." Forum Nutr 56: 215-218.
Gilca, M., et al. (2003). "The effect of fasting on the parameters of the antioxidant defence system in the blood of vegetarian human subjects." Rom J Intern Med 41(3): 283-292.
OBJECTIVES: Although the evidence is strong that fasting has anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing actions, the mechanisms responsible for these phenomena are still unclear. An ameliorated antioxidative defence with fasting may be the cause of such effects. The objective of the present work was to determine the influence of fasting on antioxidant systems in healthy young vegetarian humans. DESIGN AND METHODS: We measured Trolox Equivalents Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC) of plasma, erythrocytes superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, blood glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, level of total blood non-proteic thiols (TBNT), plasma ceruloplasmin activity, plasma level of NO metabolites (the sum of nitrites and nitrates, NOx), in 18 healthy young humans (age 20-27 years) after 12h (overnight fasting) and 80h of fasting. RESULTS: Trolox Equivalents Antioxidant Capacity of plasma, the level of total blood nonproteic thiols, plasma ceruloplasmin activity and plasma concentration of nitrites and nitrates were significantly increased after 80h of fasting. Superoxide dismutase activity and glutathione peroxidase activity were lower after 80h of fasting. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that fasting induces the "reorganisation" of antioxidative defence lines: fasting increases especially plasma protective systems (total antioxidant capacity of plasma, plasma ceruloplasmin activity) and decreases an erythrocytes antioxidant enyzme (superoxide dismutase) and blood glutathione peroxidase.
Griffith, J. and H. Omar (2003). "Association between vegetarian diet and menstrual problems in young women: a case presentation and brief review." J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 16(5): 319-323.
In the last twenty years, several studies have suggested the existence of an association between vegan diets and adolescent menstrual disorders. We share our experience with this problem and a review of the literature on the subject. We conclude that despite the existence of some evidence to the possible association between vegetarian diet and menstrual disorders, it is still not clear if this association is due solely to the vegetarian diet or due to the overall inadequate nutrition with decreased proportions of fat and protein in the diet. We believe that more prospective, well controlled studies are needed to truly explain this association.
Heckmann, J. G., et al. (2003). "The vegetarian who ate a sausage with curry sauce." Lancet Neurol 2(1): 62.
Hunt, J. R. (2003). "Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets." Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 633S-639S.
Iron and zinc are currently the trace minerals of greatest concern when considering the nutritional value of vegetarian diets. With elimination of meat and increased intake of phytate-containing legumes and whole grains, the absorption of both iron and zinc is lower with vegetarian than with nonvegetarian, diets. The health consequences of lower iron and zinc bioavailability are not clear, especially in industrialized countries with abundant, varied food supplies, where nutrition and health research has generally supported recommendations to reduce meat and increase legume and whole-grain consumption. Although it is clear that vegetarians have lower iron stores, adverse health effects from lower iron and zinc absorption have not been demonstrated with varied vegetarian diets in developed countries, and moderately lower iron stores have even been hypothesized to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Premenopausal women cannot easily achieve recommended iron intakes, as modified for vegetarians, with foods alone; however, the benefit of routine iron supplementation has not been demonstrated. It may be prudent to monitor the hemoglobin of vegetarian children and women of childbearing age. Improved assessment methods are required to determine whether vegetarians are at risk of zinc deficiency. In contrast with iron and zinc, elements such as copper appear to be adequately provided by vegetarian diets. Although the iron and zinc deficiencies commonly associated with plant-based diets in impoverished nations are not associated with vegetarian diets in wealthier countries, these nutrients warrant attention as nutritional assessment methods become more sensitive and plant-based diets receive greater emphasis.
Jenkins, D. J., et al. (2003). "Type 2 diabetes and the vegetarian diet." Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 610S-616S.
Based on what is known of the components of plant-based diets and their effects from cohort studies, there is reason to believe that vegetarian diets would have advantages in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. At present there are few data on vegetarian diets in diabetes that do not in addition have weight loss or exercise components. Nevertheless, the use of whole-grain or traditionally processed cereals and legumes has been associated with improved glycemic control in both diabetic and insulin-resistant individuals. Long-term cohort studies have indicated that whole-grain consumption reduces the risk of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, nuts (eg, almonds), viscous fibers (eg, fibers from oats and barley), soy proteins, and plant sterols, which may be part of the vegetarian diet, reduce serum lipids. In combination, these plant food components may have a very significant impact on cardiovascular disease, one of the major complications of diabetes. Furthermore, substituting soy or other vegetable proteins for animal protein may also decrease renal hyperfiltration, proteinuria, and renal acid load and in the long term reduce the risk of developing renal disease in type 2 diabetes. The vegetarian diet, therefore, contains a portfolio of natural products and food forms of benefit for both the carbohydrate and lipid abnormalities in diabetes. It is anticipated that their combined use in vegetarian diets will produce very significant metabolic advantages for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and its complications.
Krishna, G. M. (2003). "Vegetarian anaesthesia." Anaesthesia 58(5): 501.
Lampe, J. W. (2003). "Spicing up a vegetarian diet: chemopreventive effects of phytochemicals." Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 579S-583S.
Thousands of chemical structures have been identified in plant foods. Many are found in spices. Typically, spices are the dried aromatic parts of plants-generally the seeds, berries, roots, pods, and sometimes leaves-that mainly, but not invariably, grow in hot countries. Given the wide range of botanical species and plant parts from which spices are derived, they can contribute significant variety and complexity to the human diet. In the past, the medicinal uses of spices and herbs were often indistinguishable from their culinary uses, and for good reason: people have recognized for centuries both the inherent value, as well as the potential toxicity, of phytochemicals in relation to human health. Plants have the capacity to synthesize a diverse array of chemicals, and understanding how phytochemicals function in plants may further our understanding of the mechanisms by which they benefit humans. In plants, these compounds function to attract beneficial and repel harmful organisms, serve as photoprotectants, and respond to environmental changes. In humans, they can have complementary and overlapping actions, including antioxidant effects, modulation of detoxification enzymes, stimulation of the immune system, reduction of inflammation, modulation of steroid metabolism, and antibacterial and antiviral effects. Embracing a cuisine rich in spice, as well as in fruit and vegetables, may further enhance the chemopreventive capacity of one's diet.
Lea, E. and A. Worsley (2003). "Benefits and barriers to the consumption of a vegetarian diet in Australia." Public Health Nutr 6(5): 505-511.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine consumers' perceived benefits and barriers to the consumption of a vegetarian diet. DESIGN: Survey (written questionnaire) that included questions on perceived benefits and barriers to the consumption of a vegetarian diet. SETTING: South Australia. SUBJECTS: Six hundred and one randomly selected South Australians. RESULTS: The main perceived barriers to adopting a vegetarian diet were enjoying eating meat and an unwillingness to alter eating habits. This was the case for men, women and all age groups, although there were sex and age differences present in over half of the barrier items. For example, family food preferences were a greater problem for women than for men, while the oldest group was more likely to agree that humans are 'meant' to eat meat than the younger groups. The main benefits associated with vegetarian diets were health benefits: increased fruit and vegetable intake, decreased saturated fat intake, weight control. Animal welfare-related benefits and disease prevention were also important. Age and sex differences were apparent, although age differences were more important than sex differences. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of respondents perceived there to be health benefits associated with the consumption of a vegetarian diet, but also, predictably, enjoyed eating meat. Given this, it is likely that interest in plant-based diets that contain some meat is higher than that in no-meat diets. An understanding of the perceived benefits and barriers of consuming a vegetarian diet will allow the implementation of strategies to influence meat and vegetarianism beliefs, dietary behaviour and, hence, public health.
Lea, E. and A. Worsley (2003). "The factors associated with the belief that vegetarian diets provide health benefits." Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 12(3): 296-303.
The aim of this paper is to examine the factors associated with the belief that vegetarian diets provide health benefits. A random population mail survey about food choice was conducted among a sample of 1000 South Australians. An additional (non-random) survey of 106 vegetarians and semi-vegetarians was also conducted, giving a total of 707 participants from both samples. The main predictors of the belief that vegetarian diets provide health benefits for all respondents were found to be the belief that meat is neither healthy nor necessary and frequent searching for information on healthy eating. However, there were differences between vegetarians, non-vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. In particular, health issues were relatively more important for semi-vegetarians and vegetarians, while knowledge and convenience issues were most important for non-vegetarians. The results have important implications for public health. Many South Australians perceive that health benefits are associated with eating a vegetarian diet, which may also apply to plant-based diets in general. However, if non-vegetarians are to obtain some of the health benefits associated with the consumption of a plant-based diet, they require information on the preparation of quick and easy plant- based meals.
Leitzmann, C. (2003). "Nutrition ecology: the contribution of vegetarian diets." Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 657S-659S.
Nutrition ecology is an interdisciplinary scientific discipline that encompasses the entire nutrition system, with special consideration of the effects of nutrition on health, the environment, society, and the economy. Nutrition ecology involves all components of the food chain, including production, harvesting, preservation, storage, transport, processing, packaging, trade, distribution, preparation, composition, and consumption of food, as well as disposal of waste materials. Nutrition ecology has numerous origins, some of which go back to antiquity. The introduction of industrialized agriculture and mass animal production gave rise to various negative influences on the environment and health. Food quality is determined in part by the quality of the environment. The environment, in turn, is influenced by food consumption habits. Research shows that vegetarian diets are well suited to protect the environment, to reduce pollution, and to minimize global climate changes. To maximize the ecologic and health benefits of vegetarian diets, food should be regionally produced, seasonally consumed, and organically grown. Vegetarian diets built on these conditions are scientifically based, socially acceptable, economically feasible, culturally desired, sufficiently practicable, and quite sustainable.
Munjal, M., et al. (2003). "Use of vegetarian propofol in Jain community of India." Anaesthesia 58(11): 1137.
Rachmel, A., et al. (2003). "Cobalamin deficiency in a breast-fed infant of a vegetarian mother." Isr Med Assoc J 5(7): 534-536.
Rajaram, S. (2003). "The effect of vegetarian diet, plant foods, and phytochemicals on hemostasis and thrombosis." Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 552S-558S.
Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is multifactorial with a complex etiology. Conventional risk factors including serum lipids account for less than one half of future IHD events. In the past few years, novel risk factors such as hemostatic and thrombotic factors contributing to the development and progression of IHD have been explored. Typically, diet is the first line of consideration in the prevention of IHD, but very little is known about the effect of diet and nutrients on hemostasis and thrombosis. Cross-sectional studies indicate that vegetarians may have a lower concentration of certain markers of hemostasis compared with nonvegetarians. Platelet aggregation, an index of thrombosis, appears to be higher among vegetarians than nonvegetarians, perhaps because of the lower intake of long-chain n-3 fatty acids among vegetarians. Monounsaturated-fat-rich plant foods may have a protective role in hemostasis and may explain in part the lower incidence of IHD in Mediterranean countries where residents consume a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acid. Finally, certain fruits and vegetables such as soy, garlic, and purple grapes may have antithrombotic effects, which may in part be due to the phytochemicals in these foods. Although this review suggests that a plant-based diet with sufficient n-3 fatty acids and certain fruits and vegetables may have a favorable impact on hemostasis and thrombosis, the evidence is neither sufficient nor conclusive at this time to warrant specific recommendations for the public. Clearly, much remains to be done in this area of investigation.
Sabate, J. (2003). "The contribution of vegetarian diets to health and disease: a paradigm shift?" Am J Clin Nutr 78(3 Suppl): 502S-507S.
Advances in nutrition research during the past few decades have changed scientists' understanding of the contribution of vegetarian diets to human health and disease. Diets largely based on plant foods, such as well-balanced vegetarian diets, could best prevent nutrient deficiencies as well as diet-related chronic diseases. However, restrictive or unbalanced vegetarian diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies, particularly in situations of high metabolic demand. If some vegetarian diets are healthier than diets largely based on animal products, this constitutes an important departure from previous views on dietary recommendations to prevent disease conditions. Based on different paradigms, 3 models are presented depicting the population health risks and benefits of vegetarian and meat-based diets. This series of models encapsulates the evolution of scientific understanding on the overall effects of these dietary patterns on human health. Recent scientific advances seem to have resulted in a paradigm shift: diets largely based on plant foods, such as well-balanced vegetarian diets, are viewed more as improving health than as causing disease, in contrast with meat-based diets.
Sabate, J. (2003). "The contribution of vegetarian diets to human health." Forum Nutr 56: 218-220.
Our knowledge is far from complete regarding the relationship between vegetarian diets and human health. However, scientific advances in the last decades have considerably changed the role that vegetarian diets may play in human nutrition. Components of a healthy vegetarian diet include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals, legumes and nuts. Numerous studies show important and quantifiable benefits of the different components of vegetarian diets, namely the reduction of risk for many chronic diseases and the increase in longevity. Such evidence is derived from the study of vegetarians as well as other populations. While meat intake has been related to increased risk for a variety of chronic diseases, an abundant consumption of vegetables, fruits, cereals, nuts, and legumes all have been independently related with a lower risk for several chronic degenerative diseases, such as ischemic heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many cancers. Hence, whole foods of plant origin seem to be beneficial on their own merit for chronic disease prevention. This is possibly more certain than the detrimental effects of meats. Vegetarian diets, as any other diet pattern, have potential health risks, namely marginal intake of essential nutrients. However, from the public health viewpoint the health benefits of a well-planned vegetarian diet far outweigh the potential risks.
Siener, R. and A. Hesse (2003). "The effect of a vegetarian and different omnivorous diets on urinary risk factors for uric acid stone formation." Eur J Nutr 42(6): 332-337.
BACKGROUND: About 10-15% of all urinary stones are composed of uric acid. A high urinary uric acid excretion, a low urine volume and an acidic urinary pH value are suggested to be the most important risk factors for uric acid stone formation. AIM OF THE STUDY: The effect of a vegetarian diet and different omnivorous diets on the risk of uric acid crystallization was investigated. METHODS: Ten healthy male subjects ingested a self-selected meat-containing diet (SD) for two weeks, and three different standardized diets for a period of 5 days each. The Westerntype diet (WD) was representative of the usual dietary habits,whereas the balanced omnivorous diet (OD) and the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet (VD) were calculated according to the requirements. RESULTS: The risk of uric acid crystallization was highest on the ingestion of diets SD and WD, due to the high urinary uric acid excretion and the acidic urinary pH. The relative supersaturation with uric acid declined significantly by 85% on the intake of diet OD, consequent to the decrease in uric acid excretion and concentration and the increase in urinary pH value. The ingestion of the vegetarian diet VD led to a further significant reduction in the risk of uric acid crystallization by 93% compared to diet WD. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the intake of a balanced vegetarian diet with a moderate animal protein and purine content, an adequate fluid intake and a high alkali-load with fruits and vegetables results in the lowest risk of uric acid crystallization compared to the omnivorous diets.
Sinha, P. K. and P. K. Neema (2003). "Non-vegetarian anaesthesia." Lancet 361(9372): 1916.
Wells, A. M., et al. (2003). "Comparisons of vegetarian and beef-containing diets on hematological indexes and iron stores during a period of resistive training in older men." J Am Diet Assoc 103(5): 594-601.
OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that older men who consumed a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) diet would develop a lower iron status compared with older men who consumed a beef-containing diet during a period of resistive training (RT). DESIGN: Experimental, repeated measures study. SUBJECTS: Twenty-one healthy men aged 59 to 78 years, with a BMI range of 24 to 33 kg/m(2), completed the study. INTERVENTION: All men consumed a vegetarian diet for 2 weeks (baseline). After this, the men were randomly assigned to one of two dietary groups. Eleven men consumed a beef-containing diet, and 10 men continued to consume a vegetarian diet for 12 weeks. During this time all subjects participated in RT three days per week, designated as RT1 to RT12. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum ferritin and serum iron concentrations, transferrin saturation, transferrin receptor, total iron binding capacity, and selected hematological variables, as well as selected nutrient intakes and estimated iron bioavailability from three-day diet records, were determined at baseline, RT5, and RT12. STATISTICAL ANALYSES: A general linear model repeated-measures ANOVA was used to examine the effects of group, time, and group x time interactions for iron status and dietary data. RESULTS: Total iron intake was not different between the two groups; however, the beef group had a three to four times greater intake of bioavailable iron (P<.01) than the vegetarian group. Serum iron, total iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation, and transferrin receptor were not significantly different between the beef and vegetarian groups, or changed over time with RT. Serum ferritin decreased over time in both the beef and vegetarian groups during RT (P<.01). Re-introduction of beef into the diets of the beef group increased hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit compared with the vegetarian group during the 12 weeks of RT (group x time, P<.05). These changes were within clinically normal limits. APPLICATIONS/CONCLUSIONS: Older men who consume a beef-containing, higher-bioavailable-iron diet, compared with a vegetarian, lower-bioavailable-iron diet, have an increased hematological profile during a 12-week period of RT. Older men who consume either a beef-containing or a vegetarian diet maintain a hematological profile within clinically normal limits during 12 weeks of RT.
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