I’m hardly a vegetarian, but from time to time I’ll opt for the veggie burger instead of its meaty sibling or I’ll go with the 6-inch veggie patty at Subway over my usual favorite turkey.
Perhaps it’s the remnants of my ex-boyfriend – a born and raised, never consumed meat in his life vegetarian – whose habits I partially adopted for that year and a half we dated just for the simple matter of ease and convenience.
Or maybe it’s some sort of subconscious awareness that, while I don’t know the exact facts or figures, being vegetarian is "healthier" than being a meat-eater.
Among a variety of reasons why going leafy rather than meaty is healthy, a new study published in the journal “Diabetes Care” found that vegetarians experience a 36 percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome than non-vegetarians.
So what relevance does metabolic syndrome have on our health? A lot, turns out.
Metabolic syndrome can be a precursor to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke and these findings indicate vegetarians may be at lower risk of developing these conditions.
This Loma Linda University study found that “while 25 percent of vegetarians had metabolic syndrome, the number significantly rises to 37 percent for semi-vegetarians and 39 percent for non-vegetarians. The results hold up when adjusted for factors such as age, gender, race, physical activity, calories consumed, smoking, and alcohol intake.”
Lead researcher on this study, Nico S. Rizzo, PhD, says he was surprised how obvious and very real the distinction between vegetarians and carnivores is.
"I was not sure if there would be a significant difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and I was surprised by just how much the numbers contrast," Rizzo said. "It indicates that lifestyle factors such as diet can be important in the prevention of metabolic syndrome."
The study examined more than 700 adults randomly sampled from Loma Linda University's Adventist Health Study 2, a long-term study of the lifestyle and health of almost 100,000 Seventh-day Adventist Christians across the United States and Canada.